FC Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué was in action with the Catalan national team as they defeated Venezuela 2-1. During the match, a section of the Catalan fans began a chant that said something along the lines of, “Spain is such a b***h.” The player turned to that section of the crowd and wagged his finger at them, directing them to stop. It took a while, but the chant eventually died down.
Gerard Piqué shuts down Catalan fans insulting Spain. He already did it to Barcelona fans insulting Sergio Ramos.— Luis Mazariegos (@luism8989) March 26, 2019
“Disrespect is intolerable” he said after the Catalonia match.pic.twitter.com/sgWpLmVzk3
Piqué has been a lightning rod of controversy as Catalonia confronts the question of whether to become independent from Spain. The player himself has been the target of chants from Spanish national team fans for his outspoken nature regarding the issue.
The centerback is sometimes believed to be for independence, but Piqué himself has identified in a different manner.
“It’s not my case, but an independista can play for the national team,” he once said.
Another time, he went further, saying a split between Spain and Catalonia would make both sides weaker.
Still, he has supported the controversial movement to allow a referendum on the question, which would leave the situation up to a vote by the Catalan citizens. The Spanish government opposes the referendum on principle, saying even having a vote on it is illegal. Piqué says he supports having a vote because it is the democratic thing to do, whether or not you want to be independent or stay with Spain.
Piqué won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2012 UEFA European Championship with the Spanish national team, but he since has announced his retirement from la roja.
Catalonia isn’t officially recognized by FIFA as a national team, so anyone can play for them. However, they dispute only friendlies, no competitive matches. That allowed Piqué to play for them despite having been a part of the Spanish national team. He says he enjoys playing for Catalonia now since the games are friendlies and require less commitment than games for Spain.
“Disrespect is intolerable,” the player said about the chants. “There is no need to be disrespectful.
“I have told them to be quiet because it is necessary to preach by [setting an] example.”
Piqué also once gave the same finger-wag to Barcelona fans who called Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos a “son of a b***h.”