Gerard Pique claims Catalans have right to independence vote

Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique has thrown his support behind calls for Catalonia to be allowed to hold a vote on independence from Spain.

AFP| Updated: Sep 16, 2014, 20:23 PM IST
Gerard Pique claims Catalans have right to independence vote
FC Barcelona's player Gerard Pique, right, and Colombian singer Shakira attend a Basketball World Cup quarterfinal match between Slovenia and United States at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain.

Madrid: Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique has thrown his support behind calls for Catalonia to be allowed to hold a vote on independence from Spain.

Pique posted pictures to his social media accounts last week of him attending a mass demonstration with his son calling for the Spanish government to allow a referendum similar to that which will take place in Scotland on Thursday.

Speaking ahead of Barca`s Champions League opener against APOEL Nicosia on Wednesday, Pique claimed his efforts in representing Spain at international level could not be questioned despite his call for a "democratic" solution.

"I don`t understand why people are bothered by it, my playing for Spain doesn`t have anything to do with it," he said.

"I don`t think there can be any doubts about me. I have played with the Spanish national teams since I was 16, I have played over 11 years without fail. I have always given my all in every game.

"It is different thing that I also feel Catalan, it was the day of the Catalans and to be in favour of the vote.

"That is something democratic and the people ought to have the right to vote."

Pique has 61 caps for Spain and was part of the sides that won the World Cup in 2010 and European Championships in 2012.

Barcelona marked the 300th anniversary of the loss of Catalan sovereignty to Spain during Saturday`s 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao by wearing the club`s red and gold away strip, the same colours as the Catalan flag, for the first time in a home game.