Fresh news coming in on Saturday evening has conveyed that Barcelona and Spain veteran Gerard Pique has announced international retirement. The 31 year old announced that he will no longer play for his nation after a tumultuous World Cup campaign, in which the former Manchester United defender had a poor outing.
The Barcelona star said in an interview that he had made the difficult decision after pondering over his future for several days, and has followed his former Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta into quitting football. “I spoke to Luis Enrique and I told him my decision was made and pondered upon,” the centre-back told reporters. “It was a lovely time with the national team, but now I want to focus on Barcelona.”
Gerard Pique’s international retirement comes as no huge surprise due to the player’s hints about the same since the last few months. Pique was also not a fan favourite and received boos at several grounds, even in Spain. This was mainly due to his political stand of voting for Catalonia’s independence from Spain and also speaking about the same publicly on several instances.
Pique served the Spanish national team for nine years since his debut in 2009. He was part of the country’s golden footballing era which saw them lift the 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2012 UEFA European Championship. He formed an important part of the Spain squad in 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups in Brazil and Russia respectively and also in the 2016 UEFA European Championships which were held in France.
The central defender’s decision of retirement comes after a commendable international career. He won 103 caps for Spain and scored five goals in the past nine years. Barcelona’s academy graduate has now indicated that he will be concentrating fully on club duties. His first outing of the season will be the Spanish Super Cup clash on Sunday. Pique will also hope that his Barcelona side end a poor run of Champions League runs with a continental triumph at the end of this season.