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Xabi Alonso: Spain eyeing achievement 'without precedence'

The Real Madrid midfielder isn't thinking about the end of a dynasty as Spain looks to win its fourth straight major title.

LANDOVER, Md. — For all of the firepower the Spain national team still boasts, the narrative of a dying dynasty continues to gain traction.

An emphatic loss to Brazil in last summer's Confederations Cup final sparked the notion. The fact that midfield stalwarts Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso are now in their 30s gives it some credence.

Speaking ahead of Spain's final pre-World Cup friendly Saturday against El Salvador at FedEx Field, Alonso remained confident.

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"Obviously we know that we have had a great run over the last six years," Alonso said. "It's not easy to achieve what we have achieved so far — two Euros and the World Cup. Because of that, we don't think that this might be the end. We see the next World Cup as a great chance to achieve something without precedence in football history.

"Probably for a few players, it could be the last chance to play in a World Cup, and hopefully we will do our best and try to do as well as we have done in the last one. We know it is not an easy task, but we're up for it."

For at least one player, this is officially the last go-around. Forward David Villa, Spain's all-time leading scorer, signed this week with 2015 MLS expansion side New York City FC and announced he will retire from international soccer following the World Cup.

Villa, 32, is coming off a 15-goal season with Liga champion and Champions League runner-up Atletico Madrid. Before joining NYCFC, he will play on loan this fall with Australian side Melbourne City.

"It's something that's been in the works for a while," Villa said Friday. "I'm happy to come to New York. There's another year to go before we start playing, but I hope to meet all of the expectations that people here in the States have of me as a player."

Regarding Villa's MLS move, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque was reserved: "Players have their representatives, and that's their job to sign contracts in different leagues. Obviously in Spain there has been a lot of news about several of our players signing abroad. But our primary focus is on the World Cup."

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