Gerard Pique: No U-turn on decision to retire from Spain
BARCELONA, Spain -- Gerard Pique says he will not reverse his decision to retire from international football despite a recent conversation with Spain coach Luis Enrique.
Pique, 31, confirmed before the World Cup that the tournament would mark the end of his La Roja career but the appointment of the former Barcelona boss led to speculation he could make a U-turn.
However, the defender says his decision stands.
"I spoke with Luis Enrique a week ago," Pique said in a news conference on Saturday ahead of the Spanish Super Cup final against Sevilla.
"I told him the decision was made a while ago and that I had put a lot of thought into it. I had a great time playing for Spain but now I want to focus on Barcelona."
Pique brings the curtain down on his Spain career after winning 102 caps, one World Cup and one European Championship.
Despite his success, though, he was often jeered by his own supporters while with the national team because of comments about Real Madrid and because he supports a referendum on Catalan independence.
The centre-back's full attention will now be with Barcelona, where he's about to embark on his 11th season with the first team after being named one of the club's four captains for the first time.
Asked if the new role will bring a more responsible Pique, someone who may bite his tongue a bit more, the centre-back said he will not change.
"Age can sometimes make you put the brakes on a bit more," he responded. "But just because I am captain I will not stop saying what I think."
Barca's season begins on Sunday against Sevilla in the Super Cup, a game which will be played in Tangier, Morocco.
Ernesto Valverde could hand a debut to Arturo Vidal, whose arrival from Bayern Munich this summer has sparked a debate: Have La Liga's champions moved too far away from their famous style?
"There are a lot of opinions about our style of play," Pique said. "We are special in this sense and it's a debate which is always there. But Vidal will help us. Even when Pep [Guardiola] was here, we had [Seydou] Keita.
"Vidal will give us aggression, he presses well, he doesn't hide... He was at Bayern [Munich] with Pep and that shows in the way he controls the ball and uses it."