Gerard Pique has come to the defence of Spain colleague Iker Casillas, describing the goalkeeper as the world’s best.
Casillas’ place in the Spain side has been questioned after a poor World Cup and an error that contributed to defeat against Slovakia, but Pique has said Spain can’t do better than the captain.
“He’s a great professional, one of the best in the world in his position,” he told reporters, according to AS.
“Having him as a teammate and a captain is wonderful. Things didn’t go well for anyone the other day.
“We’ve got a qualification group that’s not the strongest and losing was a step back. However, there’s still time.
“Four or five players have left the team and won’t return and changes had to be made. The Coach is looking for the best way to fit players in.
“We wanted to win in Slovakia, of course, and I don’t think the team played too bad. We had the ball and we controlled the game.
“They attacked three or four times, including the goal in the last minutes. We shouldn’t dramatize.
“Everything is debated when you lose but I think it’d indisputable that it would be a mistake to change the system with the players we have.
“Our players are about control and possession and we have won trophies with this system and will continue to do so.”
Pique also touched on politics after becoming involved in the debate over a proposed Catalan independence consultation or referendum.
There were reports in Spain that he was criticised by a group of children but Pique defended the right of people to express their views and added he isn’t trying to please everyone.
“It’s a democratic right. That’s one thing and the other is I’ve always enjoyed playing for Spain,” he said.
“I don’t know if I should be examined so closely. I’m a footballer and a citizen and when I think I should get involved I do. It doesn’t affect my profession and the important thing is not to give up on the pitch and to do my job.
“You can’t be liked by everyone and nor do I pretend to be.
“I want to be here to make it up to the 33m (of Spain) and to help this team win the European Championships.”