VETERAN Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique has announced that he will retire from international duty after the 2018 World Cup after claiming “some don’t think it’s ok for me to be here”.
Speaking after Spain’s 2-0 defeat of Albania, which saw the side settle at the top of group G in the qualifiers, Pique declared that the tournament in Russia would be his last, after enduring heavy criticism for his pro-Catalan stance.
During the match he had cut the long sleeves from his shirt which he claimed were bothering him, rather than change into the short-sleeved shirts which bore the colours of the Spanish flag.
A minor detail perhaps but Pique has frequently been booed at international matches for his pro-secessionist politics. He suggested that conflict with Castilian fans wasn’t the only reason behind his relatively early departure.
“I’ll be 31” he said. “I’ve won everything with the national team. I’ll try to play my 100th game with the team, and I want to win the World Cup again, which is the most important thing.”