Gerard Pique has spoken about his stance on the Spanish national team as it relates to the Catalan independence movement.
Born and bred in Barcelona, Pique has been linked with the Catalonia independence movement, which is not well received by patriotic Spanish fans.
The veteran defender was booed on some occasions as a result, and the reception he received from the fans was a big reason behind his retirement.
Amid brilliant form, there has been talk of Pique returning to the Spain setup, and that has led to questions on his relationship with La Roja fans during an interview with YouTuber Jordi Wild.
“I think that it is compatible to be independent and play with Spain,” he said.
“There are players who are nationalised (from other countries) who play for Spain and they don’t feel Spanish.
“What is it to feel the colours? I am not going to tell you if I am or not. The vote is secret and each one has to keep its privacy, and you cannot be penalised in your professional career for it.
“There have been many cases where people have not felt it.
“What does it meen to feel from a country? There is a competition?
“If you are more Spanish, you can go? I have always seen it as part of my work.
“What do the fans prefer? A player that plays great and doesn’t care about the country or one who who loves his country the most and then has a low performance?
“When we won the World Cup, they started to see how much we loved the country?”
At 35 years of age, it seems unlikely Pique will return to the Spain squad, even with the World Cup fast approaching.
Over the course of this season, in particular, the benefits of the extra rest during international breaks have been clear for the seasoned defender.