Barcelona and Spain’s defender Gerard Pique has confirmed his decision of stepping down from the National team. Spain were hit with the news of Pique’s retirement soon after they crashed out of the World Cup against the hosts Russia.
Pique has been one of the most instrumental defenders for La Roja during the most successful period in Spain’s history. With a World Cup winners medal and two Euro winners medal for the defender, he bows down in Spanish history as one of the most valuable defenders.
However, Pique’s announcement is not shocking to the fans, as the defender had hinted at retirement prior to the World Cup. The 32-year-old’s increasing speech on Catalan nationalism and freedom has triggered a large spread hatred in the Spanish community.
“I have had a really good time, with a European Championship and a World Cup, but that story is at an end,” he told reporters on Saturday prior to Barcelona’s Supercopa clash with Sevilla.
Pique has already informed Luis Enrique:
Gerard Piqué confirms he will not return to the Spanish national team.
What a career 👏 👏 👏 pic.twitter.com/n6g3P60zG4
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 12, 2018
The new Spanish boss Luis Enrique also happens to be Pique’s former coach at Barcelona. The defender had a fruitful time under the guidance of Luis Enrique and would have loved to have him as the manager for the Russia World Cup.
Things, however, did not go according to the plan for the national team and Pique has made it a formal announcement.
Earlier in the year, Pique had signaled that the Russia World Cup would be his last when he said: “It would make sense to leave it after the World Cup.”
“It has been a wonderful time and I have experienced amazing things, but sometimes you have to end cycles and you have to do that in the right fashion.” concluded the defender before the World Cup.
Pique now joins his former teammate at Barcelona, Andres Iniesta as players who have stepped down following Spain’s exit in the round of 16 to the hosts Russia.