Mexico Midfielder Andres Guardado Has Retired from the national side after an international career spanning 16 years, the Real Betis player announced last week. The 36-year-old, who made his international debut in 2005, has played in five World Cups and is Mexico’s most capped player with 181 appearances. Thank you for everything I have experienced in these 16 years, it is impossible to express in words how grateful and privileged I feel, Guardado wrote on Instagram. Heartfelt thanks to my team mates, all the staff who are an important part of the day-to-day and of course, all the loyal fans who accompanied me during all these years, I am now one more of you!
Guardado’s last game for Mexico was a 2-0 group stage loss to Argentina at last year’s World Cup, where he also served as captain for the last time. The Guadalajara native, who is in his sixth season with LaLiga side Betis, has played in Europe since 2007 when he joined Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna. He has also had spells with Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen and PSV Eindhoven.
Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta said Thursday he will make an early exit from Japanese side Vissel Kobe but intends to keep playing aged 39. The Spanish World Cup winner’s contract with Vissel runs until the end of the year but a tearful Iniesta said he will leave in July after seeing little action this season. Iniesta has made only three substitute appearances totalling 38 minutes this term for Vissel, who are three points clear at the top of the table. The midfield maestro said he did not know where his next move would be, but ruled out retiring.
Widely considered one of the greatest players of his generation, he has been linked with a non-playing role at Barcelona. I want to keep playing and then retire while I’m still active. That’s difficult for me to do here, so I want to find a place where I can eventually retire.
Iniesta joined Vissel in 2018 after making more than 600 appearances for Barcelona, where he won the Champions League four times and claimed nine La Liga titles. He signed a three-year deal with Vissel on a reported annual salary of $30 million, which he extended in May 2021. Iniesta won Japan’s domestic Emperor’s Cup in 2019 and led Vissel to the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League a year later.
Iniesta said leaving Vissel was one of the hardest decisions of my career. I always thought I would retire here, but things haven’t gone as I wanted them to, he said. Iniesta will play for Vissel in a friendly against Barcelona at Tokyo’s National Stadium on June 6. His final match will be a home game against Consadole Sapporo in the J-League on July 1.