Barcelona defender Gerard Pique confirms global retirement

39;Playing for Spain was an awesome experience.'

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has confirmed that he is stepping down from worldwide football following a disappointing World Cup for Spain.

"It was a lovely time with the national team in which I had the chance to win the World Cup and the European Championship".

His appearances were often greeted with jeers and whistles by Spanish fans, partly because of his support for Catalonia's independence referendum.

Even before the World Cup, Pique had hinted that Russian Federation 2018 would be his last major tournament as part of La Roja.

The 31-year-old made the last of his 102 global appearances in Spain's World Cup last-16 loss to Russian Federation. However, some reports claimed Pique was set to continue to play for La Roja after Luis Enrique, his former Barca manager, was appointed as Julen Lopetegui's permanent successor.

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"I spoke to Luis Enrique a few days ago".

Barcelona begin their season against Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.

However, the former Manchester United defender insisted that he felt "fortunate for being a part of the national team during such a handsome and successful time" and said "the decision had already been made a long time ago and it was well thought out".

'It was a lovely time with the national team in which I had the chance to win the World Cup and the European Championship. "Now I want to focus on Barca", he added.

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