Gerard Pique was on Spain’s World Cup shortlist before he retired

Spain manager Luis Enrique has revealed that Gerard Pique was on his initial 55-man shortlist for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar before his shock retirement.

Pique confirmed in recent weeks that he would be leaving Barcelona this month and would not consider playing for any other club.

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His last game for Barça came in a win at the Camp Nou against Almeria, while he was sent off as an unused substitute in their comeback victory at Osasuna.

Enrique confirmed his 26-man squad would travel to Qatar on Friday, with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Thiago Alcantara omitted from the final squad.

And the Spain boss has since admitted Pique was in contention to go to one final World Cup before retiring altogether.

“Yes, Gerard was on the shortlist,” Enrique said. “He is one of the most important Spain centre-backs of all time and I put him on the list not as one of the first options, but as a possibility if someone dropped out.

“Pique is a competitive animal, a great player. Last season he ended up playing injured and produced excellent performances as always. That’s why he was on the list.

“For me, he’s a great centre-back. Another thing is the situation with his club, but I can’t control that. He’s a top-level centre-back. I ended up betting on continuity, which is why I chose others in the end. “

Pique finished his career with 102 caps for Spain, winning the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship with La Roja.

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