GERARD PIQUE has announced he will retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup in Russia as he ‘can’t bear’ to play for Spain anymore.
The 29-year-old broke the news following his country’s 2-0 victory over Albania in a World Cup qualifier in Shkoder.
His controversial support for Catalan independence has angered many fans and came to a head in the Albanian stadium when he was booed for cutting the long sleeves off of his jersey, which fans claimed featured the Spanish flag.
The Spanish Football Federation has since confirmed they did not.
Speaking after the match he said: “The 2018 World Cup in Russia will be my last appearance for the Spanish national team.
“I’ve thought about it a lot. This isn’t a spur of the moment decision.
“There are people who think it’s better if I’m not here.”
“I have tried everything, but I can’t bear this anymore,” he added.
“Today’s issue of the sleeves is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“They’ve managed to make me lose the excitement of coming here and although after Russia I’ll only be 31, I’ll leave.”
The Barcelona centre back has enjoyed a successful career having played for the Vicente del Bosque’s side that won the World Cup and European Championship double.