FIFA Men's World Cup
Spain legend Sergio Ramos announces international retirement
FIFA Men's World Cup

Spain legend Sergio Ramos announces international retirement

Updated Feb. 23, 2023 6:08 p.m. ET

Sergio Ramos has played his final match for Spain. The Real Madrid legend and current Paris Saint-Germain center back announced in a statement on Thursday that Spain's new head coach, Luis de la Fuente, informed him that he won't be called up to the national team going forward.

"The time has come. Time for me to say goodbye to the Spain national team. To La Roja. This morning, I received a call from the current head coach who informed me that I am not and will not be part of his plans, regardless of how I perform or what I do in my career," the statement read.

"With a heavy heart, it's the end of a road that I hoped would stretch out further and which would end with a better taste in my mouth, on a par with all the success we achieved with La Roja. I honestly believe that this journey deserved to end at my own choosing or because my performances were not at a level worthy of our national team. Not due to a question of age or other reasons that, although I have not heard them directly, I have certainly felt.

"Because age in itself is not a virtue or a defect; it's just a number that is not necessarily related to performance or ability. I admire and envy players like Modrić, Messi and Pepe. They are the essence of tradition, values, meritocracy and justice in football. Unfortunately, it won't be like that for me because football isn't always fair and football is never just football."


Ramos, who will turn 37 on March 30, has been a staple in Spain's back line dating back to his debut in 2005. In recent years, injuries have kept Ramos off of the international squad, including the 2022 World Cup squad. His last appearance for Spain was in March 2021. With 180 caps, he holds the record for most appearances with Spain's men's team. 

"This is something I have to accept, albeit with this sadness I share with you but also with my head held high, and thankful for all these years and for your support," the statement continued. "I come away with unforgettable memories, all the titles we've fought for and celebrated together and the tremendous pride I feel as the most capped Spanish international of all time. This badge, this shirt and these fans, all of you, have made me happy. I'll continue to support my country with the passion of someone lucky enough to proudly represent it 180 times. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who believed in me!"

Ramos retires from international soccer as a World Cup winner (2010) and a two-time European champion (2008 and 2012).

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