The 2014 World Cup saw the end of an era as Spain crashed out of the World Cup at the Group Stages. It also saw the last of England’s golden generation potentially make their final bow at the Group Stages after defeats to Italy and Uruguay. Here is a list of players retiring at the end of the World Cup.
Top Five players who are retiring from international football along with their potential replacements:
1. Xavi Hernandez
It is unlikely any international player will quite have the career of Xavi. The 34-year-old Barcelona man, who made his international debut in 2000, won three international tournament back to back as he brought his formidable partnership with Andres Iniesta into each tournament. Perhaps what is more impressive for Xavi is he didn’t even win his international until he was 28.
Who can replace him?
Atletico Madrid’s Koke appears to be the best option. The 22-year-old played a key role in Atletico’s title win last season and Spain under-21’s European Championship win last season. With his energy, creativity and drive from midfield, there is an argument to suggest he should have played a more prominent role at the World Cup given Spain’s lack of energy in midfield.