Andres Iniesta confirms retirement from Spain squad after World Cup exit


"He is one of the best players in Spanish football history - I can't say anything else".

You asked me about the same thing after the last game we won and I said the same thing, we have started a journey and now we have to continue on it with calmly and responsibly.

Vladimir Putin called King Felipe VI of Spain after a FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match between the two national teams.

Russian Federation had pledged to host a safe and secure World Cup in 11 cities.

Iniesta lost just 15 games with Spain, winning 96 and drawing 15, and scored 13 goals.

Among the favourites for the trophy heading into the tournament, Spain joined the likes of Germany, Portugal and Argentina in making an early exit when Igor Akinfeev kept out Iago Aspas' penalty in Moscow.

Besides the penalty kicks in the shootout, there were only a total of seven shots on target at his goal through the tournament, and he conceded goals to six of them, including three to Cristiano Ronaldo.

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"It is a reality that is my last match with the national team, at the individual level a wonderful stage is over".

With 131 appearances, Iniesta was Spain's fourth-most-capped player, behind Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xavi Hernandez.

A rare attack saw Russian Federation find their way back level via Artem Dzyuba's 41st-minute penalty, after Gerard Pique's handball from a corner.

Russian Federation looked impressive during their group stage victories against Saudi Arabia and Uruguay but the 3-0 loss to Uruguay, who themselves reached the quarter finals after beating Portugal on Saturday, exposed the defensive fragilities present in the host nation's side.

Spain was more urgent in extra time after being too passive when it dominated the ball in the 90 minutes of regular time.

The result saw Moscow go into meltdown with tens of thousands of fans in the capital's Federation Internationale de Football Association fan fest crowding around several huge screens as they witnessed what many had believed was unthinkable before the match. He was also part of the team that won the 2012 European Championship. "I'm sure all of Spain are proud of us".

"I want to extend my honest thanks to an exemplary professional", he said.