Cesc Fabregas is ready and willing to play for Spain under a new coach, but admits a fresh generation of players must be nurtured in order to recapture former glories.
The 31-year-old has not played for Spain since their 2-0 defeat to Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2016, having been frozen out by former national team head coach Julen Lopetegui.
The departure of Lopetegui two days before their World Cup opener came too late for Fabregas to have any involvement in the tournament, which saw La Roja surprisingly knocked out by hosts Russia in the second round under interim boss Fernando Hierro.
Fabregas, who won successive European Championships and the 2010 World Cup with Spain, sent a message to whoever takes over from Hierro, stating his availability and desire to represent his country.
“It wasn’t meant to be for Spain at this World Cup and there is a lot to be decided over the new manager and the direction the players want to go,” Fabregas wrote for The Telegraph.
“Andres Iniesta has retired and Gerard Pique has said he might also finish with the national team. I have not retired and I would certainly be available if a new coach wanted to count on me, but I will have to work hard to make it happen.
“I never said I had finished for my country and I would have loved to have played in this World Cup. I still feel very good, I feel physically there, I’m motivated. I really enjoy playing and some of the best moments of my career have come with Spain.”
Fabregas has enjoyed a glittering career, winning league titles with Chelsea and Barcelona in addition to his international success, but he is as driven as ever.
“What age has taught me is to value everything I achieve,” he added. “Chelsea won the FA Cup this season and I enjoyed it like a baby. People may look at me and wonder why after everything I have won, but, for me, you never know when you will stop winning.
“When I was 21 and I won the Euros, I was so happy but I had a whole career ahead of me and I thought I would win a lot more. But the older you get, the more value you put on every moment.
“There are not many players left from the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Spain teams, so it’s a new generation and definitely there is talent who play for big clubs and have won things. Now they need to grow into making themselves a team and be successful.
“Whether it is with or without me, we have to make sure we learn, we grow up, we get a new manager, whoever it is, and get behind him, and see if we can go back to the top. It won’t be easy, but it can be done.”