Spain defender Gerard Pique has announced his international retirement with immediate effect. With 102 appearances for his country, Pique thinks its finally time to hang up boots and concentrate only on his club football at FC Barcelona.
Pique retires from international football at the age of 31.
The 31-year old defender had won the 2010 World Cup and 2012 Euro with Spain. However, he had faced many ups and downs in his international career and also went through criticism and controversies right after he talked in favour of Catalonia’s controversial planned referendum on independence.
Despite, getting the former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique as the new manager of Spain, Pique said he would stick to his retirement call. Pique told reporters,
“I have had a really good time, with a European Championship and a World Cup. But that story is at an end. I have told this to Luis Enrique. “It would make sense to leave it after the World Cup. It has been a wonderful time and I have experienced amazing things, but sometimes you have to end cycles and you have to do that in the right fashion.”
The Barcelona defender hinted of taking retirement before the start of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. And now he has finally decided to call it a day.
Along with Pique, midfielder Andres Iniesta also announced retirement just after the FIFA World Cup 2018. The 2010 World Cup champions had a disappointing run in Russia, as they got knocked out by the hosts in tie-breaker in the round of 16. Pique had a match to forget, as he conceded a penalty which helped Russia to crawl back into the game.
In the end, Igor Akinfeev was Russia’s hero after saving two penalties in a shoot-out to sensationally dump Spain out of the World Cup.