Gerard Piqué leaves the press room at the Ciutat Esportiva following his press conference there on Thursday. / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

It would be an understatement to say that Gerard Piqué has made headlines in recent days. In the midst of a four-game suspension stemming from a red card in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup, the FC Barcelona centre-back was booed incessantly by Spanish fans during national team play just this week, even if nobody is exactly sure why. Everything considered, the Barça Number Three felt it was time to open up about some of the current issues surrounding both Barça and Spain.

"I felt pretty good in both games with the national team. I am a positive person and I am usually very happy. I'm excited. There are just two games left on my suspension and then I can move forward," he explained.

Regarding the recent booing that has been directed at him during national team play, Piqué chalked it up to the Barça–Madrid rivalry. "And that isn't going to change," he warned. Piqué stressed his commitment to the Spain team while balancing that with the desires of a part of Catalan society eager to decide its future. Nevertheless, the defender said he was looking forward to his next appearance with the team.

Here are highlights of what Piqué had to say.

On the Barça–Madrid rivalry:

"I think the booing has to do with the rivalry and my comments on our rivals. I'm not going to change. That's the way I am. To those who accept me, great. And for those who don't, also great."

"I never wanted to disrespect anyone. That thing I said at the celebration was a joke, only made by Piqué."

"I don't regret anything. I would do it again a thousand times. That's the way I am. I always want Madrid to lose; that's rivalry we've always had."

"But the rivalry doesn't prevent me from having good relationship with Madrid. For example, I have a fantastic relationship with Iker Casillas. In the dressing room we're a unit and I want people to understand that."

"I've never had a better relationship with Sergio Ramos. At first it was a little cold and it's gotten better, I feel very comfortable being with him and playing with him."

On the Spain national team:

"I'm fully committed to the Spanish national team. It hurts that people doubt that. After two trebles and a sextuple, I don't play for prestige or money. I play because I think it's the right thing to do. And as long as the coach continues to have confidence in me, I'll keep playing."

"The situation hasn't affected me personally so much, but more for the team, the coach and my teammates. People have every right in the world to express themselves. I'll try to get them to change [by playing well]. That's the situation we have to face up to it."

"I'm out here addressing it because I would like to diffuse the tension. We have to remain united. I will give it my all."

On Catalan National Day:

"I will go to the [11 September] demonstration like I do every year. History says that the people must be listened to."

On the match at Atlético Madrid:

"It's always tough to play when coming back from the national team. We have to be there [both physically and mentally]."


Gerard Piqué talks football, life by fcbarcelona