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Sep 1, 2014

Spain squad withdrawal my decision, says Barcelona defender Gerard Pique

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop gives his take on Xabi Alonso's retirement from international football.

Gerard Pique says he personally asked Vicente del Bosque to be left out of Spain's squad for this week's internationals due to his ongoing fitness issues.

- Ledwith: Sandro secures hard-fought win for Barca

Spain coach Del Bosque has not included the Barcelona defender in his squad for Thursday's friendly in Paris against France on Sept. 4 and the Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia on Sept. 8 at Levante's Ciutat de Valencia.

Del Bosque suggested while making the announcement on Friday that Pique, 27, had not fully recovered from a hip problem which hampered him through last season.

However on Saturday, Blaugrana coach Luis Enrique said the centre-back was in "perfect" condition, and he then completed the 90 minutes as Barca won 1-0 at Villarreal on Sunday evening.

Pique has struggled with form and fitness, leading to some questioning his first-choice status for club and country.

Speaking to AS in the Esstadio El Madrigal mixed zone after that game, the Catalan defender said it had been his own decision not to join up with La Roja, and he thanked Del Bosque for understanding that he needed some more rest at the moment.

"I want to thank Del Bosque for the gesture he has made," Pique said. "Because I asked him, personally, not to count on me for the game, because I still had some issues. I want to thank him for his decision."

Pique's club colleague Marc Bartra, 23, has been included in the national squad for this week's games, despite the once-capped defender apparently being fourth or fifth choice centre-back for Barca.

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