Gerard Pique has a good reason for announcing his planned retirement from international football after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and former teammate Xavi Hernandez says the defender made a good choice.
Image shows Gerard Pique in action for Spain.
Pique was heavily criticized for cutting off the sleeves of his Spain jersey during the match against Albania. He was alleged to have removed part of Spain colors from his shirt for political purposes.
The media reported that Pique showed signs he would rather play for the Catalan national team than remain a Spain player, an accusation the Spanish FA has since called “biased”.
A statement from the FA made reference to La Roja’s captain Sergio Ramos, who also had troubles with his uniform during the match. The football body said Gerard’s decision on wearing the “torn jersey” was for “comfort” purposes.
After the match in Albania, Pique said: “I cut my shirt because the sleeves were too short and they bothered me.
“It’s very tiring, I know what I did and have moved on. I’ve tried everything but can’t take any more. This with the sleeves is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“They’ve made sure that I’ve lost my enthusiasm for coming here.”
Meanwhile, Xavi has shown support for Pique’s retirement from international football, saying the defender has received “no love” from Spain.
The 29-year-old made it clear that his decision not to quit immediately was because of the influence from new manager Julen Lopetegui, who replaced World Cup winning coach Vicente del Bosque earlier this year.
“I’m very excited with this new project with Julen and I don’t want to quit at all,” Pique added.
“I’ll keep playing until the World Cup. We’ve started this together and we’re going to finish it together.”
Image: Xavi Hernandez
“Carles Puyol and I have suffered it too for years, it’s due to a lack of respect,” explained Xavi, who currently plays for Qatari side Al-Sadd.
“Pique took it seriously. He has the right to say he’s fed up of it and doesn’t want to go any more. That’s totally fine.
“Anyone would think he ripped the badge off his chest, everyone knows that he goes out to defend the colours of the Spain team.
“I think that he’s sick of it. It’s hopeless because you don’t feel valued or loved and they tell you that you are not committed.”