Gerard Pique has spoken of his delight at turning the whistles of a section of Spain supporters into applause at Euro 2016.
The Barcelona central defender has been the subject of boos in recent internationals for his comments about Real Madrid during Barcelona’s treble celebrations in 2015, but headed home a late winner to hand La Roja victory in their opening Group D game against the Czech Republic last week.
“It’s much better when the fans applaud rather than whistle you and the only way I could change this was through my performances on the pitch,” Pique told a Press conference ahead of the clash with Croatia in Bordeaux.
“I knew the situation was not easy but football is like this. It can change everything, so playing at a high level and getting an important goal makes people eventually realise this is a game and not a competition of patriotism.”
Victories over the Czech Republic and Turkey have sent Spain through to the Last 16, but Pique is adamant Vicente del Bosque’s team will not just settle for the point against Croatia that would see them top the group.
“When a team knows that a draw is enough they are unsure of what to do, whether to go for the win or stay back. But it’s clear to us we must go all out for victory.
“I think it’s going to be good to be up against a team that plays better football because from the next round it is down to one game and a matter of life and death.
“I’m expecting a tough game. I’ve not spoken to [teammate] Ivan Rakitic but during the season, when we knew we had to play each other, we talked about this game a lot and we hope it will be good for the fans.”