MADRID - Spain's most capped player Sergio Ramos announced his international retirement on Thursday after being told by new coach Luis de la Fuente that he was not part of his plans.
The 36-year-old Paris St Germain defender, who won the World Cup in 2010 as well as two European Championships, has not played for Spain since March 2021, yet said he should have been given the chance to show he could still be of service to his country.
"The time has come, the time to say goodbye to our beloved and exciting national team," Ramos, who captained Spain 52 times, said in a statement. "This morning I received the call from the current coach who told me that he doesn't and will not count on me, regardless of the level I can show or how I continue my sporting career."
The Spanish FA (RFEF) confirmed to Reuters that the conversation between coach De la Fuente and Ramos took place on Thursday, but provided no further details.
Ramos was dropped by former Spain coach Luis Enrique and had not made an appearance since coming on as a late substitute in a 3-1 win over Kosovo in a World Cup qualifier two years ago.
"Humbly, I think that my path deserved to end because of my personal decision or if my performance was not up to the level that our national team deserve, but not because of age or other reasons," Ramos said. "Being young or less young is not a virtue or a defect, it is only a temporary trait that is not necessarily related to performance or ability. I look with admiration and envy at (Luka) Modrić, (Lionel) Messi, Pepe... the essence, tradition, values, meritocracy and justice in football.
"Unfortunately, it will not happen to me because football is not always fair and football is never only about football."
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Toby Davis)