Gerard Pique has announced that he will retire from the Spanish national team after the 2018 World Cup in Russia after another incident with fans.
Pique, 29, has had numerous dustups with the Spanish fans, and the Barcelona centre back has been booed on several occasions. After the game against Albania on Sunday, Pique was accused by fans to have cut off the Spanish colors on the sleeve of his jersey. Spain had to release a statement saying that he had in fact cut the arms of a long-sleeved jersey that doesn’t have the flag on the sleeve.
“The Royal Spanish Football Federation wishes to show its support to the international footballer Gerard Piqué about the controversy regarding the cut made on his jersey in the match against Albania,” the statement read.
“On the contrary to what some malicious comments where the Spanish player was accused of cutting the sleeves of the jersey to avoid wearing the band with the national colours. In this regard, the RFEF wishes to explain that said band on the Adidas jersey only exists in the short sleeve version, and not on the long sleeve, which is the one Piqué used in the match. The absence of the bands can be seen on the intact version of the jersey worn by teammate Sergio Ramos, who did use the long sleeve.
“Gerard Piqué cut the sleeve with the sole aim of playing more comfortably, the same way other players have done on many occasions.”
Pique’s support for an independent Catalonia is what has angered some of the Spanish fans, and it now seems that he’s had enough of the abuse.
“I have tried everything, but I can’t bear this anymore,” Pique said. “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.”
The centre back has made 85 appearances for Spain, winning a World Cup and a European Championship. He’s one of the more senior defender in terms of caps along with Sergio Ramos.