In Brief

Gerard Pique: I won’t quit playing for Spain

Barcelona star was jeered by fans at training session

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique says he will continue playing for Spain despite fans booing him at a training session ahead of the team’s match against Albania. 

Pique’s future in the Spanish squad had been in doubt because of his vocal support for Catalonian independence.

Unrest during the banned independence referendum on Sunday saw Barcelona forced to play their La Liga home match against Las Palmas behind closed doors.

Pique said it was the “worst experience” of his career and offered to quit if his stance was problematic for Spain’s national side.

Speaking after Sunday’s match, he told Spanish newspaper Marca: “If any directors or if the Spanish FA believe that I could be a problem or annoy the national team then I am willing to step aside. I am proud of the Catalan people.”

However, the Sky Sports website reports today that Pique has insisted he won’t quit even if fans have turned against him.

He said: “Since the beginning of the situation, to have fans that usually cheer you whistle and insult you, has been very difficult.

“But it is impossible to question my commitment since the age of 15. I consider this a family and it is one of the reasons why I continue here.

“I have said it many times, I am very proud to be part of the Spanish selection and a group capable of winning all the titles here. I’m here to make myself clear and because the coach asked me to.

“I’ll try to help the team in any way I can. We have to focus on trying to win three points against Albania. We would be almost qualified.”

Spain play Albania on Friday, before taking on Israel on Monday.

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