Pique rep­ri­manded for com­ment

The Jakarta Post - - SPORTS -

MADRID: Spain cap­tain Ser­gio Ramos has crit­i­cized in­ter­na­tional team mate Ger­ard Pique for speak­ing out in fa­vor of Cat­alo­nia’s con­tro­ver­sial planned ref­er­en­dum on in­de­pen­dence, risk­ing a rift in the team a week be­fore two cru­cial World Cup qual­i­fiers.

Pique, who is reg­u­larly booed by large sec­tions of Spain sup­port­ers for his out­spo­ken com­ments against Real Madrid and his per­ceived sup­port of Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence, tweeted in fa­vor of Sun­day’s ref­er­en­dum on Thurs­day — with­out back­ing a split for Spain — but urged sup­port­ers to be­have peace­fully.

Ramos later crit­i­cized his team mate for wad­ing into the de­bate on the ref­er­en­dum, which the Span­ish gov­ern­ment deems il­le­gal and has tried to pre­vent from tak­ing place, as ten­sion builds in the coun­try ahead of one of the most sig­nif­i­cant days in the 39 years since Spain re­turned to democ­racy.

“Pique’s tweet was not the best thing to do if he doesn’t want to be booed,” Ramos told re­porters.

Ramos and Pique, in be­ing flag-bear­ers for fierce ri­vals Real Madrid and Barcelona, have long had a del­i­cate re­la­tion­ship as Spain’s two main cen­tre backs but have gen­er­ally man­aged to patch up their dif­fer­ences when play­ing for the na­tional team.

Ramos, how­ever, said Pique had risked caus­ing di­vi­sions in the Spain camp with his com­ments.

Spain be­gin prepa­ra­tions for their fi­nal two World Cup qual­i­fiers next week, host­ing Al­ba­nia on Fri­day and vis­it­ing Is­rael on Mon­day. — AFP

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