Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has called time on his career as a Spain international following a nine-year stint with La Roja.
The 31-year-old has decided to focus on his club commitments and has announced his decision to withdraw himself from availability for international selection despite the arrival of former Barca boss Luis Enrique.
Pique, who made 102 appearances for Spain, was a part of his country’s most successful era in world football and will be remembered as one of their best, in spite of his controversial support for Catalan nationalism.
“I spoke with Luis Enrique a week or two ago, he called me, but I told him that the decision was very thoughtful, that he ‘was a wonderful step, but now I’m focusing on Barca,” the centre-back said in quotes cited by L’Equipe.
And, speaking to reporters ahead of his side’s clash with Sevilla in Saturday’s Supercopa de Espana, he reflected on the great memories gained from his time playing for the 2010 World Cup winners.
?“I have had a really good time, with a European Championship and a World Cup, but that story is at an end,” Pique declared.
“I have told this to Luis Enrique. It would make sense to leave it after the World Cup.”
“It has been a wonderful time and I have experienced amazing things, but sometimes you have to end cycles and you have to do that in the right fashion.”
Pique helped Spain win World Cup eight years ago, as well as the Euros in 2012. But, following a disappointing 2018 World Cup campaign and with age creeping up, he has opted to fully commit to the Primera Division giants and close the curtains on his international metier.