Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has stressed that Gerard Pique was not dropped for Thursday’s friendly against France.
The Barcelona centre-back was not included in a new-look Spain squad for the clash at the Stade de France and it appeared the former Manchester United man had paid the price for his country’s poor performance at the World Cup.
Del Bosque set the record straight in a press conference ahead of the game, though, stating that the 27-year-old had declared himself unavailable to feature as he is not fully fit, despite playing for Barca in their La Liga win at Villarreal on Sunday.
“There’s no misunderstanding at all,” said Del Bosque.
“Pique told me he wasn’t 100 per cent to play with Spain which doesn’t necessarily mean he couldn’t perform with his club as he did.
“Luis Enrique is the one who better knows the state of Pique, he thought he could play and he did. That’s it.”
Del Bosque believes the onus will be on France to cope with higher expectations following their performances in Brazil as Spain start a period of transition, with Xavi, Xabi Alonso and David Villa having retired from international football, .
“It’s a different situation as France did it great in Brazil reaching the quarter finals to lose with Germany without being that worse,” he added.
“We didn’t go through the last 16. So now it’s a different situation. They are on a very good moment with a strong group of players and we are going through a renewal phase.”
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