Gerard Pique hit out at sections of Spain’s support after announcing he will retire from international duty in 2018.
Barcelona defender Pique, who is offered jeered by some Spain fans for his pro-Catalonia stance, revealed that the World Cup in Russia will be his final international tournament after the 2-0 victory at Albania.
The 29-year-old attracted criticism on Sunday by cutting the long sleeves on his shirt rather than change to the short sleeve kit, which carries the colours of the Spanish flag.
“I always give everything I have on the field, but there are people who think it’s better if I’m not here,” Pique said. “After Russia, a stage will have ended for me.”
He added: “It’s not a ‘heat of the moment’ decision, I’ve given a lot of thought to this.
“It’s not because of what happened today, it’s because I always give my best on the field and, although there are some people who have thanked me, some don’t think it’s OK for me to be here.”
And the former Manchester United youngster insists his decision is to allow Spain’s next generation to be given a chance.
“You need to give them some space,” he said.
“I’ll be 31, I’ve won everything with the national team. I’ll try to play my 100th game with the team, and I want to win the World Cup again, which is the most important thing.”