Barcelona star Gerard Pique has revealed that he is ready to retire from international football before 2018 If his endorsement of Catalonia’s independence referendum is seen as a problem by Spanish football authorities.
Pique, who had been outspoken about him retiring from the Spanish national team setup after the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, disclosed this after he helped his Barcelona team overcome visitors Las Palmas 3-0 in an empty stadium on Sunday evening due to the unrest in the city. He also stated that the Spanish La Liga Matchday 7 clash was his “hardest game”.
In his words, the 30-year old defender said: “I think I can continue.”
“But if the board really thinks I’m a problem, I will take a step back and leave the national team before 2018.
“There are many people in Spain who disagree with what happened today and believe in democracy.” he added.
Gerard Pique has become a controversial figure in Spanish football despite featuring 91 times for the La Furia Roja because of his position on the referendum.
Prior to Sunday’s game against Las Palmas, the former Manchester United central defender posted a picture on Twitter of him voting in the referendum and wrote: “I have already voted. Together we are unstoppable defending democracy.”
Speaking further about the Las Palmas game, Pique said: “The board tried to suspend the match, but it wasn’t possible. We debated it and the club decided we should play.
“I am and I feel Catalan, today more than ever. I am proud of the behaviour of the people of Catalonia. Voting is a right that must be defended.” he stated.
Pique believes Sunday’s events will further heighten the political instability in Spain. In his chat with AFP Agency, he said: “For a moment I couldn’t believe it.”
“I thought they would try to block the vote but they would try to do it in a peaceful manner.
“It wasn’t like that, but at least the whole world has seen it.
“This decision has made things a lot worse. It is one of the worst decisions made by this country in 40 or 50 years.
“It has only served to separate Catalonia and Spain more and it will have consequences.” he concluded.