Spanish national team defender and Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique is backing off considerations to quit the team after mounting criticism over his vote in Catalonia's controversial independence referendum. Nathan Frandino reports.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique says he's here to stay. The soccer star announcing Wednesday that he's commited to the Spanish national team, despite criticism from fans after he voted in Catalonia's controversial independence referendum. Pique telling reporters that he considered leaving but decided to play on. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCELONA AND SPAIN DEFENDER GERARD PIQUE, SAYING: "If I were to leave now, it would be letting the people, and I don't think they are a majority, who insult me and boo me, win and I don't want to give them the luxury of quitting." Pique voted in the controversial referendum, but says he's never spoken out in favor of Catalonian independence... simply saying that his home region should decide on its own future. Pique was booed in an open training session with Spain on Monday, with fans calling for his exit. Pique has played in 91 games for Spain, helping his country win the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship. And says he's never given less than one hundred percent. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCELONA AND SPAIN DEFENDER GERARD PIQUE, SAYING: "I have always been completely committed to the national team in every sense. It hurts me to know that people doubt my commitment." It's a commitment he says he'll carry onto the field Friday when Spain plays Albania... a win in that game could seal Spain's place in next year's World Cup in Russia.