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Clemente backs 'brave' Pique

Former Spain coach Javier Clemente has backed Gerard Pique for his "brave" decision to retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup.

Pique was the subject of criticism from sections of the Spanish media on Sunday for reportedly cutting a Spanish flag-based trimming from the sleeves of his jersey during the 2-0 defeat of Albania.

However, he proved after the match that he did no such thing and subsequently announced that he would be quitting international football after growing fed up with such unfair media scrutiny.

And Clemente, who took Spain to the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, thinks the Barca man has made the right decision.

"Pique is a man who says things others might not because he is brave," he is quoted as saying by Mundo Deportivo. 

"He is a player who says what he feels and I think that is very honest and sincere, and sometimes he is sincere because it [what he has to say] hurts.

"If Pique says he leaves the team because he has critics – although he says only a few, I think there have been many – and that he was tired of them, it is better to leave the team and I will praise him for his sincerity."