Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has shocked the world of football by announcing his plans to retire from international football. The Spanish centre-back copped widespread criticism for his trimmed jersey in Spain’s most recent FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Albania and has announced that he will quit La Furia Roja after the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Pique has long been viewed as a contentious figure for the national side, despite being instrumental in Spain winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2012 European Championship. The Barcelona centre-back has been outspoken about his views on Catalan independence from Spain, leading many to question his commitment to the national cause.
The latest controversy surrounding Pique involved him trimming the short sleeves of the Spain jersey, which includes the part that bears the design of the national flag. However, Pique produced proof after the match that the shirt he trimmed did not have said design.
He announced his retirement plans, saying “I have tried everything, but I can't bear this anymore, today's issue of the sleeves is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. They've managed to make me lose the excitement of coming here and although after Russia I'll only be 31, I'll leave.”
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The Royal Spanish Football Federation announced their support for Pique with the following statement:
Regarding the controversy generated due to the footballer Gerard Piqué modifying his jersey, the RFEF wishes to clear the situation about the long-sleeve jersey used does not contain the country's colours
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.
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.
The unjustified criticisms towards Gerard Piqué have provoked the player to think of leaving the Spanish National Team after the Russia World Cup.
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