SHOWS: BARCELONA, SPAIN (AUGUST 11, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) BARCELONA DEFENDER, GERARD PIQUE, SAYING: "He (Luis Enrique) called me one or two weeks ago and I told him the decision was taken a long time ago and that I had thought about it carefully.
It was a beautiful time with the national team in which I had the chance to win the World Cup and the European Championship and I'm very happy of being part of all that success but now I want to focus on Barca, I have a few years left here and I'm going to enjoy them a lot." STORY: Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has confirmed on Saturday (August 11) he will not play again for the Spanish national team despite his former Barca coach Luis Enrique being appointed as coach.
Pique declared his intention to quit international football after the 2018 World Cup following a World Cup qualifier against Albania in October 2016, saying he was tired of repeated criticism from supporters and the media, and that he wished "to be left in peace".
The outspoken Barcelona-born defender has never enjoyed the same rapport with Spain supporters as his international team mates, and he has often been booed at games due to his repeated jibes at Real Madrid and his support for a referendum on Catalan independence.
Pique, 31, did not confirm his departure immediately after Spain were eliminated by hosts Russia in the last 16 of the World Cup, but he said he had already told Luis Enrique -- who succeeded Julen Lopetegui last month as national team coach -- that he would not be returning to the set-up.
Pique is preparing for the Spanish Super Cup game against Sevilla in Morocco alongside Lionel Messi and new team mate Arturo Vidal.
Barcelona coach Erensto Valverde is satisfied with his team and told reporters that he feels optimistic.
The Catalans lost last season against bitter rivals Real Madrid.