KCaptain Sergio Busquets has announced his retirement from the Spanish national team. This was announced by the RFEF football association on Friday. The 34-year-old FC Barcelona midfielder has played 143 internationals for La Furia Roja and was part of the team that won the country’s first World Cup in South Africa in 2010. In 2012, Busquets also won the European Championship with the Iberians.
“Sergio Busquets is an icon of Spanish football, a model athlete, an impeccable professional and an undisputed leader,” said federation president Luis Rubiales in praise of the Catalans. At the World Cup in Qatar, Busquets and the Spaniards surprisingly lost to Morocco in the round of 16. In the 3-0 penalty shoot-out, the captain was also denied by the invincible goalkeeper Yassine Bounou. It was 0-0 after 120 minutes.
The tournament in Qatar was Busquet’s fourth World Cup, and with 17 appearances he is Spain’s all-time World Cup capper, tied with Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas. “Sergio is a quiet leader who is admired by everyone for his humility and naturalness,” Rubiales said.
The Portuguese Football Association parted ways with coach Fernando Santos after the quarter-finals at the World Cup. Both sides agreed to end the cooperation, as the association announced on Thursday evening. It is now the right moment to start a new cycle, the association wrote in its statement. The 68-year-old’s contract would have run until the 2024 European Championship. The association stated that it now wants to start the process of looking for a successor.
Portugal also surprisingly failed in the quarter-finals of the World Cup because of outsiders Morocco. Santos then announced that he wanted to talk to the association calmly about his future. The Portuguese coach took over the team around superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in 2014 and led them to the 2016 European Championship title.
As the Portuguese newspapers “Record” and “A Bola” reported, the Portuguese coaching icon José Mourinho should be the favored solution of the head of the association Fernando Gomes for the successor to Santos. Mourinho, 59, has been coaching Serie A club AS Roma since 2021. In Portugal there had also been speculation about U21 coach Rui Jorge, former Wolverhampton coach Bruno Lage and current Fenerbahçe coach Jorge Jesus as other candidates.
Santos was criticized in his home country, especially after the 1-0 draw against Morocco, when Portugal made little use of its superiority and was eliminated after conceding an unfortunate goal against the supposed outsider. The coach was also in focus for his dealings with captain Cristiano Ronaldo. After weak preliminary round performances, he had put his superstar on the bench twice at the beginning of the knockout phase.