Gerard Pique confirms Spain retirement: ‘Decision was taken long ago’

first_imgGerard Pique confirmed that he will not play for the Spanish national team again despite the appointment of former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique after the disastrous 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign.Pique, who made 102 appearances for the Spanish national team, had been Spain’s prime centre-back pairing along with Sergio Ramos.Pique had declared that he wished to quit international football after the World Cup post a World Cup qualifier against Albania in October 2016, citing constant criticism. He had said back then that he was tired of repeated criticism from supporters and the media, and that he wished “to be left in peace”.Pique was a part of the famed Spanish team that won the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 Euros but never quite enjoyed the same support from the Spanish supporters like his teammates. In fact, he was frequently booed during Spain matches because of his repeated jibes at Real Madrid and also because he was in support of a referendum on Catalan independence.Even though reports had suggested right after the World Cup that Pique had retired from international football, the 31-year-old made no official statement. However, he has now come out and said that he had already told Enrique that he will not represent Spain anymore.Enrique succeeded Julen Lopetegui last month as the coach of the Spanish national team.”I spoke to Luis Enrique a few days ago. He called me and I told him the decision was taken a long time ago and that I had thought about it carefully,” the defender told a news conference on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup game against Sevilla.advertisement”It was a beautiful time with the national team in which I had the chance to win the World Cup and the European Championship. Now I want to focus on Barca,” he said. “I have a few years left here and I’m going to enjoy them a lot.”Before Pique, Spanish stalwart Andres Iniesta announced his retirement soon after Spain got knocked out of the World Cup.Iniesta, who had made it clear before the start of the World Cup that this is will be his final tournament in the national colours, bowed out with a heavy heart calling it the “saddest day of my life”.(With Reuters inputs)last_img