Spain defender Pique announces retirement after 2018 World Cup

Madrid, Oct 10 (IANS) FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has said he will retire from the Spanish national side following the 2018 football World Cup final in Russia.

He announced this after Spain scored a 2-0 win in Albania on Sunday night.

The 29-year-old defender from the Catalan region of Spain was on social network ‘Twitter’ accused of having deliberately cut the sleeves of his Spain shirt so as not to wear the Spanish flag, reports Xinhua.

Despite the Spanish Football Federation giving Pique their support, the defender had clearly had enough.

“You get tired of this…The World Cup in Russia will be my final appearances with the national side and I hope I can go by calmly,” said Pique, who insisted his decision was not taken on the spur of the moment.

“It is not because of today, but it is one more thing that has happened on top of many. I have always given everything and nobody can doubt it, but there are people who think it’s better that I am not here,” explained the defender.

Pique, who was vital in Spain’s 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship wins, has long been a target for the Madrid-based press and more radical Spanish fans after saying he believed the Catalan region should be allowed to hold a referendum over its independence.

His obvious love for Barcelona and his willingness to take shots at bitter rivals Real Madrid was even thought to be responsible for the decision to not play one Spain game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Despite consistently being one of Spain’s best players, Pique was even booed when playing for Spain in cities such as Leon and Logrono, while the media appeared to focus on his every gesture when the national anthem was being played.



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