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Spain shirt sleeves row is last straw and I'll retire after World Cup, says Gerard Pique

By Robert Jones

Spain defender Gerard Pique has said he will quit international football following the 2018 World Cup after admitting the criticism he received over modifying his national team shirt this weekend was the final straw.

The Barcelona defender came under fire on social media for cutting short the long sleeves of his shirt for Spain's World Cup qualifier in Albania, with suggestions it was done to avoid wearing the band showing the country's flag colours of red and yellow.

Pique has been booed by Spain fans in the past for comments about Real Madrid and other subjects, and the 29-year-old has said enough is enough and announced after Sunday's 2-0 win in Shkoder his intention to leave Julen Lopetegui's team in two years' time.

He said: "There are clearly people who feel it would be better if I'm not here.

"I have tried everything, but I can't bear this any more, today's issue of the sleeves is the final straw.

"Although after Russia I'll only be 31, I'll leave."

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