Spain: Gerard Pique announces retirement from national team


Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique has announced his intention to retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The decision comes after a controversy over his shirt sleeves during Spain's match against Albania last weekend in World Cup qualifying Group G. Spain are leading the group table with seven points after their first three matches and they are the favourites to qualify from that group, which also includes Italy. The Barcelona defender has played 84 matches for Spain so far and scored five goals.

Pique is just 29 years old, so his international career could continue for quite a few more years. But some Spain fans seem to hate him because of his public support of independence for Catalonia. During Sunday's match Pique's shirt did not have a Spanish flag trim on the sleeve, while all his teammates had that design detail on their match shirts. The Spanish Football Association tried to defend the player and issued a statement to explain the missing flag.

The statement said that Pique had opted for the long-sleeved shirt, which did not feature the flag trim, and also added that Pique had cut the sleeves off his shirt for comfort. Pique, a World Cup and European Championship winner with Spain, also issued a statement: "I have tried everything, but I can't bear this anymore. Today's issue of the sleeves is the straw that breaks the camel. They've managed to make me lose the excitement of coming here and although after Russia I'll only be 31, I'll leave."

Spain are 10/1 at Bet365 to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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Members Comments

  • Bulgaria sharpe

    25/10/16

    Don't know even how to comment that, the football in particular and the sport in general shouldn't ever be messed with the politic I think.
    Yes Gerard Pique would be only 31 when he retires but first I'm not sure he would think the same way then as of now and secondly there was many other players who had retired younger from their national sides so...

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