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Xabi Alonso retires from Spain

 Most assumed that Xabi Alonso wouldn't be seen in a Spain shirt again after the country's stunning World Cup exit, but the Spanish FA decided to go ahead and make it official anyway. In a letter on the Sefutbol website, Alonso announced his decision to walk away from international football.

Alonso has been a fixture through multiple generations of the Spanish national team, and was an equal participant in both the country's most disappointing teams and its greatest teams ever. Though his national team career didn't start strong, he was a fixture in the Spain teams that won Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup. His 115 caps are 5th most in Spain's history.

Now 32, Alonso has begun to show his age, and he probably needs international periods off if he's going to remain effective for Real Madrid going forward. Especially considering that Madrid seem to have developed a phobia of defensive-minded or hard-working midfielders, Alonso is going to be asked to do a lot more than just stand in place and create, even though he's lost a step of pace