"--IANS/EFE"
Madrid, June 21 (IANS/EFE) Sports daily Marca has reported that Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso has retired from international football after Spain's elimination from the FIFA World Cup.

Marca says the 32-year-old planned this move for some time and the decision was not a knee-jerk reaction to the event in Brazil. Far from it, he had long known that summer 2014 would mark the end of his international career, reports EFE.

Alonso has been playing for Spain's first team since 2003. By scoring 16 goals in 113 matches, he helped the team to win two Euros in 2008 and 2012 and the 2010 World Cup.

The Real Madrid player will get the chance to rest as he had been having fitness issues over the last two years.

The veteran drew criticism when he admitted that Spain had lost their way following their World Cup knockout.

We couldn't maintain that hunger, that ambition. We weren't mentally prepared or physically fit enough, he said after Spain got eliminated from the World Cup.

--IANS/EFE

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