Barcelona star Gerard Pique has announced that he is going to retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup.
The 29-year-old has explained that he is set to give up representing Spain due to constant criticism from various fans and media – despite being a part of the most successful Spain team ever.
Barcelona star tells team-mates in the dressing room: ‘I want to leave’
Speaking after their 2-0 win over Albania, the defender – who had been accused of cutting off the Spain flag from his shirt during the game, leaving the Spanish FA to release a statement revealing he had actually just cut a long-sleeved jersey in to a short-sleeved one – announced his decision.
‘After World Cup 2018 I will leave the Spanish national team,’ said Pique.
‘I had this pre-planned, it’s not taken in the heat of the moment. I’ve always given everything on the pitch and although some have been grateful, others don’t want me here.’
Pique has won two European Championships and one World Cup with his national team, during the most successful period in the country’s footballing history.
However, despite this, the centre-back as been booed and criticised for his support for a vote on Catalonian independence.
Pique will only be 32-years-old at the time of the next World Cup, and club Barcelona could benefit from this decision in the long term.