Mexico captain and all-time caps leader Andres Guardado announced his retirement from the national team on Tuesday.
Guardado, 36, said before the 2022 World Cup that the tournament in Qatar would be his “last opportunity to achieve something for the national team” and he made it official on Instagram.
“I had already said it a long time ago, but I haven’t stopped to give thanks for everything I’ve experienced in these 16 years with my national team! Impossible to express in words how grateful and privileged I feel!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who accompanied me,” said the Real Betis midfielder.
“[Thanks] of course to all the faithful fans who have accompanied me throughout all these years now that I’m one more of you!”
His 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.
Guardado played in 181 games, a record for Mexico, and scored 28 international goals from 2005 to 2022. He won three CONCACAF Gold Cup titles in 2011, 2015 and 2019, with the national team and a CONCACAF Cup in 2015. The CONCACAF Gold Cup Golden Ball winner in 2015 was also a member of the CONCACAF Best XI in 2015, 2016 and 2018.
The veteran is on a select list of players from Mexico to play in five World Cups alongside Guillermo Ochoa, Rafael Marquez and Antonio Carbajal, who died on May 9 at the age of 93. Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Portugal‘s Cristiano Ronaldo, Germany‘s Lothar Matthaus and Italy‘s Gianluigi Buffon are also on that list.
Born in Guadalajara, Guardado made a name for himself as a pacey winger and youth academy product for local club Atlas. After a two-year run in Mexico’s top flight beginning in 2005, Guardado moved abroad to join Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna in 2007. The midfielder later played for Valencia (2012-2014), Bayer Leverkusen (2014), PSV Eindhoven (2014-2017), and now with Real Betis since 2017.
According to reports, the veteran is close to extending his contract with Real Betis through 2024.