Gerard Pique insists he has never lacked respect for Spain after being caught on camera making an offensive gesture during the country’s national anthem.
Before Spain’s final Group D clash against Croatia on Tuesday, Pique appeared to display his middle finger as the team stood for the Spanish national anthem.
The images were quickly circulated on social media, with Spain supporters furious with Pique’s actions.
However, the Barcelona star defended himself after the game, insisting the camera just caught him at the wrong moment.
“I am cracking my fingers during the national anthem,” Pique said on Twitter, as Spain suffered a 2-1 defeat in Bordeaux.
“Let’s not look for controversies where there aren’t any, and try and win the Euros together.”
Me estoy crujiendo los dedos durante el himno. Dejemos de buscar polémicas donde no las hay e intentemos ganar la Eurocopa todos juntos.
— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) June 21, 2016
Pique has made headlines in the past for spats with Real Madrid adversaries, but the 29-year-old said that is all left behind when representing the national team.
“I would never disrespect the anthem. I think you know me,” he told reporters.
“We have come to win the Euros. Madrid and Barcelona are sometimes divided, but we are now all here to try and win the tournament.”
The defeat to Croatia means double-defending champions Spain must face Italy in the round of 16.
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