Spanish defender Gerard Pique on Sunday announced that he would retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The FC Barcelona center-back said, "I'm tired of it [criticism], and the World Cup in Russia is going to be my last commitment with the Spain team, and then I hope I can be left in peace," according to Reuters.

Pique faced social media backlash after he cut off the sleeves of his jersey, which had Spain's colors of red and yellow, before his team's qualifier against Albania in Sydney on Sunday. "I cut my shirt because the sleeves were very short, and they were bothering me. I've tried everything but I can't take it anymore, the thing with the sleeve is the straw that has broken the camel's back," he told reporters after the game.

The defender does not share the same rapport with Spaniard supporters as his fellow team members. He was booed during a friendly in Costa Rica in 2015 after making a joke about Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. "They have succeeded in killing my joy in playing for Spain, and even though after Russia I'll only be 31, I'm going to quit then...I have always tried to give everything, but while some people appreciate that, others think it's better for me not to be with Spain," Pique said.

The 29-year-old was part of Spain's winning teams at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. He has played 86 games with the national team. Pique said he had decided to not retire immediately on the advice of Julen Lopetegui, Spain's manager.