Spain defender Gerard Pique has revealed he will quit international football after the 2018 World Cup as he “can’t bear” to play for his country anymore.
Pique’s support of Catalan independence has angered many Spain fans and there was further controversy during Sunday’s World Cup qualifier with Albania after the defender cut the sleeves off his shirt.
Pique and fellow defender Sergio Ramos were both wearing long-sleeved versions of the national team jersey and the Barcelona player decided to cut his off.
When Spain couldn't score against Czechs in opening game at Euro 2016, there was Gerard Piqué (with his son watching on in a Spain shirt).
— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) October 9, 2016
Fans on social media claimed that Pique had intentionally cut off the Spain flag but, unlike the shorter version, the long-sleeved version did not feature the flag, according to the Spanish Football Federation.
The 29-year-old has 84 caps for his country but admitted after the match that he had lost the “excitement” of playing for his national team.
“I have tried everything, but I can’t bear this anymore,” he said. “Today’s issue of the sleeves is the straw that breaks the camel,” he said.
“They’ve managed to make me lose the excitement of coming here and although after Russia I’ll only be 31, I’ll leave.”