ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has admitted he considered retiring from the Spanish national team because of “hostility” following his comments on the Catalonia independence referendum on Sunday.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Pique said he intended to continue playing for his country despite having said before that he wanted to quit.
“I have considered it [quitting], but after evaluating it, I think the best solution is to continue,” he told reporters in Las Rozas, Madrid.
“To leave would be to give pleasure to those that have booed me, it would be telling them that they’ve won,” the Barcelona defender added.
Spain fans booed the defender during an open training session on Monday with the national team.
However, he cited the unity among the players and staff on the national team, adding he would remain with the squad “to help in as much as I can on the pitch, which is my job.”
On the negative reception by fans at the training session, Pique said he was “hurt,” but said he was confident of “turning things around.”
“It was difficult because obviously, you don’t like the fans to be against you and to address you with that hostility,” he said. “Nobody likes to be insulted and booed.”
After Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Las Palmas on Sunday, a game that was initially suspended but eventually played behind closed doors, Pique’s comments about the violence in Catalonia irritated some fans.
The defender, who voted in the referendum, said he did not regret the things he said. “We are all people, and we have our opinions.”
“I’ve only said that people should be allowed to vote. I have not taken a side. I’m in favor that people can vote, yes or no,” he said.
Since making his debut for the Spanish national team in February 2009, Pique has registered 91 appearances, scoring five goals.
Editing by Ava Homa