Sergio Busquets has confirmed his retirement from international football following Spain’s shock last-16 elimination in Qatar.
The Barcelona midfielder captained Spain at the World Cup and was one of three players to miss a penalty as Luis Enrique’s side were beaten 3-0 in a shootout by Morocco following a goalless draw.
The 34-year-old was part of Spain’s victorious squads at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, with the nation having won three consecutive major tournaments.
Busquets was the only member of Spain’s 2010 World Cup winning squad to feature in Qatar but has now confirmed his international career is over after nearly 15 years.
‘It has been an honor to represent my country and take it to the top, to be a World and European champion, to be captain and to play so many games with greater or lesser success,’ Busquets wrote in a lengthy Instagram post.
‘But always giving everything and contributing my grain of sand so that everything was the right way as possible and that everyone felt how important they are, helping everyone and fighting for the same goal, with unique, unforgettable, and historical experiences.’
‘I would like to thank all the people who have accompanied me on this long journey,’ Busquets said.
‘From Vicente del Bosque who gave me the opportunity to start, to Luis Enrique for making me enjoy until the last second. I also thank Julen Lopetegui, Fernando Hierro and Robert Moreno for their trust, as well as all of his staff.
‘And of course to each and every one of my teammates, with whom I have struggled to try to take the team where it deserved, with more or less success but always giving everything and with the greatest of pride.
‘To all the followers, for the daily support received and especially when things did not turn out as we expected. That is when you are most needed and most united you have to be.
‘And of course, most importantly, my family. For supporting me at all times and in all my decisions and sharing this path while being away for many days and making me always feel close so that I could give my best.’
Busquets played 143 times for Spain, with the defensive midfielder having made his debut against Turkey back in 2009. He played for Vicente del Bosque’s World Cup-winning side in 2010, as Spain overcame the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time in the final to lift the trophy for the first time.
Busquets’ retirement comes days after Luis Enrique was dismissed as Spain boss, following their early World Cup exit.