Xavi Hernandez has been the anchor and rock of the Barcelona midfield for over a decade, but he decided today that he will retire from playing international football.
Xavi has played at the highest level possible, winning almost every possible trophy that you can receive as a footballer. His decision to retire comes to many as a shock, because it is clear that he still has the class to play at the highest level for at least another three years. Even while at Barcelona, Xavi has had the support of world class players around him and because of that his game has continued to improve.
While playing for Spain, Xavi has won Euro 2008, FIFA World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. The midfielder was in the squad of the the team which traveled to Brazil and performed so badly that they could not even make it out of the group stages. I think that after such a bad showing, Xavi understood the importance of retiring from international football and letting some of the younger players develop themselves in the international team so a repeat of the performance in Brazil does not happen again.
Spain is one of the few football teams in the world which has a rich depth of players for every position available. I believe now that Xavi is gone, not only will Spain survive, but they will grow and thrive in ways that was not possible before. While Vicente del Bosque would always turn to Xavi as the go-to guy in the Spain midfield, he would now have to rely on some of the younger players who are quite talented and ready to prove that they can be trusted with such a great task.
Some of the other players need to follow in Xavi’s footstep and do the same. After three years of dominating world football, it seems they have become complacent and it has stunted their own growth. There is no doubt that Spain will rise again as supreme but that will only happen if young players are given the chance to play and develop. Apparently that will only happen with the retirement of other players.