Barcelona and Spain International, Gerard Pique, who has been under severe criticism over the past few days for casting his vote in a referendum regarded as ‘constitutionally illegal’ by the Spanish Government, has come out to express his desire to play for the Spanish national team.
Pique, believes that his defence for Catalonia’s independence referendum has no role to play in his decision to play for Spain.
“It is not incongruous, I take it to the extreme, I believe that a person wanting independence could play in the Spanish team because there is no Catalan team and because that person has nothing against Spain.”
The Spanish defender who was jeered by spectators during Spain’s open training on Monday, due to his decision on the wealthy northeastern Spanish region’s right to self-determination, added: “Why would a person wanting independence not play for the Spanish team? It’s a question I put forward, and it’s not my case. Why could he not?”
Despite being a part of the Spain team that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, being jeered has become a routine when representing his country.
Pique who recently hinted on plans to retire from international football immediately after Russia 2018 World Cup tournament, insisted that it could come earlier than that, if the Spain coach, Julen Lopetegui or the federation believe his political stance to be problematic.
“It is best to continue and accept this challenge of trying to reverse (the criticism), i feel very proud to be in the Spanish team… It’s impossible to question my commitment. I’ve been here (in the national set-up) since the age of 15 and consider it as family.”
Pique went on to ask for understanding of his political views.
“We are players, but above all we are humans,” he said. “Humans have opinions and opinions come from our environment, where we live and through the information we get. It’s not possible for us all to think alike.
“I think that through dialogue and respect we always get to the right place. I have spoken to teammates who think differently from me. In the end, we come to the conclusion that there are things that could be worked out, but that’s not for us to do, we’re footballers”.
Spain play Albania in Group G of European qualifying on Friday and Israel three days later, with one win from these final two games likely to be enough to automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
By Akin Obakeye…
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