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Tearful Pique offers Spain retirement following referendum incidents

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has offered to retire from the Spanish national side following multiple incidents involving police and Catalan voters on Sunday.

Pique made the claim following his side’s 3-0 win over Las Palmas at an empty Camp Nou on Sunday; a game which was centre to controversy after violent scenes broke out during Catalonia’s independence referendum.

According to official reports, over 750 people were injured as police used rubber bullets and batons to stop voters taking part in the unofficial vote.

Pique, who was one of those pro-independence voters has always backed his people and he took to the press following the game to offer his resignation from the Spanish national setup.

The Barcelona-born defender told AS: “I honestly think I can join up with the national team because I’m convinced there are thousands of people who totally disagree with what has happened.

“I also say that if the coach (Lopetegui) or anyone from the Federation thinks that I’m a problem or a nuisance then I will step aside and leave the national team before 2018.”

Speaking on the vote, the former Manchester United defender added his thoughts on the right to vote.

“You vote yes, no, or leave it blank, but you vote. In the Franco era, we couldn’t defend our ideas.

“I am, and I feel Catalan, and I am very proud of the people, of their behaviour, like in the last seven years.”

Pique then went on to criticise Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, saying: “After what has transpired it has been my worst experience as a professional.

“It has been a tough day. There were families, children and grandparents, and the police and Guardia Civil have intervened.

“The people protested without violence. I thought they would try to stop the vote in a peaceful way. Everyone has seen what happened. They’ve made things worse.

“This is among the worst decisions in the last 50 years. They’ve separated Catalonia from Spain even more and there will be consequences.”

Barca beat Las Palmas 3-0 thanks to goals from Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi (2), in a result that gives them seven wins out of seven in La Liga this season.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid had Isco to thank as they beat Espanyol 2-0 to win for the first time at home this season.


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