Gerard Pique insists it is an “honour” to represent Spain but does not believe they would have experienced such success without Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.
Pique, who is known for his passionate advocacy of Catalan independence, also claimed Cristiano Ronaldo could not be compared to Lionel Messi, Manchester United “made” him a defender and that he had never blocked anyone on social media.
“Cristiano is super-complete, he has everything a football player can dream of. He’s big, fast, good in the air, can score with both feet … but Messi is something else,” the centre-back told L’Equipe.
“He has natural talent. Leo can play anywhere, [his ability] is crazy.
“The ball is always stuck to Leo’s foot. It’s amazing. He also has very strong legs. Leo is the best player in history.
“I’d never do politics. It’s an honour to play for Spain. Barcelona are a symbol of Catalonia.
“When [Pep] Guardiola arrived on the Barca bench, we went on an unprecedented run of success and the Spanish team benefited from it.
“I learned the technical side of the game at Barcelona, but Manchester United made me a defender.
“[On social media], many people want to be politically correct. I write what I think is my style. I’m aware that it can hurt [others], but I’m free and you can’t please everyone.
“I respect [others’] opinions. I’ve never blocked anyone on social networks.”