Gerard Pique's retirement saga explained
What's the news?
Gerard Pique, Barcelona's ace defender, announced retirement from international football.
The 31-year old Spain international confirmed his retirement while speaking to the media ahead of Barcelona's Supercopa de España final match against Sevilla.
He stated that he already informed his decision to Spain's new boss, Luis Enrique about his retirement plans.
“I spoke to Luis Enrique and I told him my decision was made and pondered upon. It was a lovely time with the national team, but now I want to focus on Barcelona.”
In case you didn't know
Gerard Pique was quite a controversial figure in the Spain national setup. It is no secret that the Barcelona defender is a supporter of Catalonian indepence.
During the World Cup Qualifiers in 2016, Pique was accused of removing Spanish colours from his shirt. Pique then insisted that him cutting off the sleeves was for comfort but not a political gesture. Amidst a lot of hatred from social media, he announced that he will retire after the World Cup in Russia.
"I cut the sleeves in the same way other players have done on many occasions, for comfort. I have tried everything, but I can't bear this anymore. I always give everything on the field, but there are people who think it's better if I'm not here.
"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 then 29-year old Pique also made a point of his decision's seriousness.
"It's not a ‘heat of the moment' decision, I've given a lot of thought to this."
Only now have people realised the seriousness of the statements made by him back then.
"I'll be 31 [in 2018], I've won everything with the national team. I'll try to play my 100th game with the team, and I want to win the World Cup again, which is the most important thing.”
Gerard Pique's international career
Gerard Pique made his international debut for La Roja on 11 February 2009 against England in a friendly match. Soon the center-back became a crucial member of the Spanish squad and was a key member of the 2010 World Cup winning squad.
Pique continued his good performances in international football and helped his side lift the title in the UEFA Euro Cup 2012.
In total, Pique accumulated 102 appearances for his national side and announced his retirement on 11 August 2018. With it ended, a career spanning 9 1/2 years.
This January, Pique reinstated the fact that he will indeed retire from international football after the World Cup.
“Yes, I will leave the national team after the World Cup. I’ve already said it a lot of times. I am very proud of playing for Spain when I have the chance, but because of motivation, or because you like to focus on other things, there is some stage of your life when you need to end it in the best way.”
With Spain's shock exit from the World Cup in the round of 16, the retirement might not be a shock to the ones who are aware of the controversies around Pique in the last few years.
The 31-year old stuck to his words and has announced his international retirement before the start of a new season with Barcelona.