sport news Andres Iniesta becomes latest genius to call it quits... Spain have lost one of ...

His final act was symptomatic of his international career, a penalty swept emphatically home with his right foot. When it was done Andres Iniesta walked back to the centre circle with the look of a man who knew all along that he would score.

It was telling Iniesta took the first one. Spain thought they didn't need him for this game so he was left on the bench at the start by coach Fernando Hierro. But when it came to it at the death - when men of substance and fibre were required - the 34-year-old was at the front of the queue. They did need him after all.

But now Spain are gone and Iniesta has gone too. Retired from international football and on his way out of Barcelona, if you want to watch one of the great minds of world football at work you will have to buy a ticket for China.

Spain have lost one of their greatest as Andres Iniesta hangs up his international boots

Spain have lost one of their greatest as Andres Iniesta hangs up his international boots

We will always remember him, though, and what he was once part of with Spain.

Already the naysayers are sneering. Spain's neat, intricate football has eventually tied only themselves in knots, they say. Tiki-taka is dead. But if there is some truth in that then we should at least remember what it brought us.

Spain were exceptional in winning the 2008 European Championships 10 years ago and effective in lifting the World Cup in South Africa two years later. Iniesta - along with his Barca compadre Xavi - was at the very heart of that and it was thrilling to watch.

Iniesta converts his penalty during the shootout against Russia as Spain exit the World Cup

Iniesta converts his penalty during the shootout against Russia as Spain exit the World Cup

Here in the humidity of the Luzhniki Stadium, we saw just how fine the line is when a team tries to play this way.

Hierro

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