Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
When midfielder Xavi announced his international retirement earlier this month, it signaled a new era for the Spanish national team.
La Roja’s midfield will now see the departure of another mainstay from its “Golden Generation,” as Xabi Alonso announced Wednesday that he is retiring from international competition after 114 appearances and an impressive 16 goals.
The Real Madrid star, who often scored from a deep midfield position, was a notable member of Spain’s 2010 World Cup champion side, and won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.
“The hardest thing is knowing when to say goodbye, and after thinking about it, I think that my time with the national squad has come to an end,” Alonso said in an open letter.
“It has been a glorious period with the Spanish team that started more than 11 years ago,” he added. “I have formed part of an historical generation that has fulfilled the dreams of millions of fans, achieving something as unique as winning a World Cup and two European Championships in a row.”
Here are some more of Wednesday’s news and notes:
BALOTELLI SET FOR LIVERPOOL DEBUT AGAINST TOTTENHAM
Just days after acquiring the always-entertaining forward, Liverpool announced today that Mario Balotelli is ready to for his Reds debut.
Balotelli, signed by the club on Monday, is set to make his Premier League return Sunday when Liverpool travels to take on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
“I think by the weekend [he'll be ready to feature],” said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. “He’s been into preseason and he’s played three 45-minute games.
“The medical and sports science team have worked with him already and he’s in very, very good condition,” Rodgers added. “He’s in to work and he’ll be available for the squad for the weekend.”
TOTTENHAM SIGN DEFENDER FAZIO FROM SEVILLA
Following the departure of centerback Michael Dawson to Hull City, Tottenham have added a new hulking defender to play in the Englishman’s stead.
Spurs announced Wednesday that the club has come to terms with Sevilla for the acquisition of center back Federico Fazio.
Fazio, who stands at 6-foot-5, made 29 appearances for Sevilla in the 2013 season, during which the club won the Europa League title.
“I come to Tottenham because I think it’s a very good team, a very good club, very good fans,” Fazio said. “I know Spurs is a historic club in this country and league. This is a great club and I’m very happy to be here.”
How will Spain fare without Alonso? What do you expect of Balotelli this season? How will Fazio fit in with Tottenham?
Share your thoughts below.