Spain’s Pique an­nounces in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment

Bangkok Post - - SPORTS -

BARCELONA: Spain cen­tre-back Ger­ard Pique con­firmed that he had ended a glit­ter­ing in­ter­na­tional ca­reer on Sat­ur­day, say­ing that the ap­point­ment of his for­mer Barcelona coach Luis En­rique would not change his mind.

The 31-year-old made the last of his 102 in­ter­na­tional ap­pear­ances in Spain’s World Cup last-16 loss to Rus­sia.

En­rique took over as coach af­ter the World Cup last month, which saw Fer­nando Hierro in tem­po­rary charge fol­low­ing the shock sack­ing of Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tour­na­ment.

“I talked to him [En­rique] a week or two ago. I told him that the de­ci­sion was al­ready made,” Pique said ahead of yes­ter­day’s Span­ish Su­per Cup against Sevilla.

Pique is the lat­est mem­ber of the great World Cup-win­ning Span­ish side to quit the na­tional team, fol­low­ing the likes of for­mer Barcelona team­mates Xavi Her­nan­dez and An­dres Ini­esta.

His de­fen­sive part­ner­ship with Car­les Puyol was key to Spain’s maiden World Cup ti­tle in 2010, while he also won Euro 2012.

“It was a great stage at the Eu­ros and World Cup,” added Pique.

“I’m very happy to have par­tic­i­pated in all these suc­cesses, but now I want to fo­cus on Barca. I have three years left and the more the bet­ter.”

AFP

Ger­ard Pique at a press con­fer­ence.

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