David Silva has announced his retirement from international football.
Silva, 32, was part of the Spain squads which won the 2010 World Cup as well as the 2008 and 2010 European Championships, making 125 appearances and scoring 35 goals over 12 years.
“It is not easy, after all I’ve lived through, to sit and write these lines. It has been days and weeks of reflection and analysis to take the decision to end my era in the Spanish national team,” wrote Silva in an open letter on his Twitter account on Monday.
“Without a doubt it’s been one of the most difficult choices of my career, which I make with gratitude and humility.
“The national team has given me everything and allowed me to grow as a footballer and person since (playing in) the youth categories.
“I leave feeling happy with everything I have achieved. I lived and dreamed with a team which will be remembered forever; and I am bringing an end to an era filled with many moments which will live in my memory, such as the figure of Luis Aragones, a teacher I will never forget.”
His final match was the penalty shootout defeat to Russia in the 2018 World Cup round of 16.
David Silva endured a difficult period after Christmas when his time was split between Spain and Manchester following the premature birth of his son Mateo, who was in intensive care before finally being allowed home in May after spending five months in hospital.
Silva, who was described as “Spain’s Lionel Messi” by former coach Vicente del Bosque, follows in the footsteps of fellow World Cup winners Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique in retiring from Spain duty following the World Cup.
The playmaker joins Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique in stepping down from La Roja following the 2018 World Cup