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Pique commits to staying with Spain despite fierce criticism

Pique commits to staying with Spain despite fierce criticism

By Richard Martin BARCELONA, Oct 4 (Reuters) Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said on Wednesday that he considered quitting the Spanish national team over criticism for his views on the Catalan independence referendum, but decided against it because it would play into the hands of his detractors. Pique was jeered in an open training session with Spain on Monday, a day after he broke down in tears following the violent incidents in his home region as police tried to prevent would-be voters from taking part in the banned referendum. The defender, who voted on Sunday, suggested then that he would be open to walking away from international football if coach Julen Lopetegui or his team mates felt uncomfortable with his presence, but on Wednesday he said he was fully committed to the team. "I considered it [quitting the Spain team] but in the end you have to evaluate every option and after thinking about it for a long time that I decided not to as leaving now would be letting the people who insult me win," Pique told a news conference. "I believe the people who boo me are a minority and I don't want to give them the luxury of quitting. I have every confidence that there are many people, including in this group, who want me to stay and help the team win matches." Pique, 30, has played 91 games for Spain and won the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championships with his country. Spain play Albania on Friday where a win could seal their place in next year's World Cup in Russia. Pique announced last year his intention to retire from international football after the tournament, due to a combination of repeated criticism from the media and supporters, and to give other players an opportunity. "It's impossible to doubt my commitment to the national team, I've been coming here since I was 15, I consider this to be my family. I'm proud to play for Spain and it hurts me that people doubt that," he added. Pique also reiterated that he has never spoken out in favour of Catalan independence, and simply supports the right of his home region to decide on its own future. "Speaking about politics is troublesome, but we are people before footballers. Everyone can have an opinion, so why can't footballers," he added. "I'm not an activist. People have advised me not to talk about politics but I never put myself on one side or the other, all I said was that we should vote." REUTERS KU 1806

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Asia Cup: India post 285 runs against Hong Kong, Shikhar hits ton

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18 Sep 2018 | 9:19 PM

New Delhi, Sep 18 (UNI) Shikhar Dhawan smashed century, as India set a target of 286 runs against Hong Kong in their opening match of six-nation Asia cup on Tuesday at Dubai in UAE.

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Kin of Pakistan captain pray for Indian team

18 Sep 2018 | 8:06 PM

New Delhi, Sep 18 (UNI) Mehboob Hasan, kin of Pakistan cricket team captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, strongly desires that India win Asia Cup, besides Wednesday's match to be played against Pakistan.

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Mohun Bagan scripted history by becoming unbeaten CFL champions after 8 years

18 Sep 2018 | 8:01 PM

Kolkata, Sep 18 (UNI) Conceding a goal in the 72nd minute, Mohun Bagan rallied
brilliantly in the fag end to score two goals in a gap of seven minutes to emerge
unbeaten Calcutta Football League (CFL) for the first time in eight years with 2-1
triumph over Mohammedan Sporting in a mini derby at Salt Lake Stadium here
on Tuesday
The Mariners became the champ for the first time this season after 2009 following
their win in the previous game against Calcutta Customs by two goals last week, but
question was there if they remain undefeated in the last play of the 12-team fixture
for premier division league.

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Wrestler Sunil Kumar wins gold at World Firefighters games

18 Sep 2018 | 7:46 PM

New Delhi, Sep 18, (UNI) Indian wrestler Sunil Kumar clinched gold in the 84 kg category at 13th World Firefighters Games in Chungju, South Korea, on Monday.

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BFC announces 25-member squad for ISL

18 Sep 2018 | 7:01 PM

Bengaluru, Sep 18 (UNI) Bengaluru Football Club (BFC) have named their 25-man squad for Indian Super League which kicks off later this month, the club announced on Tuesday.

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