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Piqué: whistles drown out applause at Spain v Albania

SPAIN - ALBANIA

Piqué: whistles drown out applause at Spain v Albania

Piqué: whistles drown out applause at Spain v Albania

JOSE JORDAN

AFP

The Barcelona defender has received whistles upon each touch of the ball from some sections of the Alicante crowd, and applause from others.

Gerard Piqué has provoked two very distinct reactions each time he has touched the ball during Spain's match against Albania in Alicante. 

Piqué divides the Alicante crowd

First come the whistles, raining down from the stands. Then, in response, come the waves of applause. It is indicative of a stark division of opinions, although as is natural, the whistles have been louder.

Piqué has historically been whistled by some Spain fans, ostensibly because of his propensity to speak out against Real Madrid in the media. Strength of feeling towards the centre-half has become increasingly crystallised in recent weeks surrounding the issue of Catalan independence. 

Piqué: whistles drown out applause at Spain v Albania

The 30-year-old spoke to the media from Spain's training base outside Madrid on Wednesday, and called for dialogue to resolve simmering tension between the Spanish and Catalan governments.

Barcelona defender called for 'dialogue'

The announcement of the Piqué's name over the loudspeaker system at the Estadio José Rico Pérez was met with more applause than whistles. During the warm-up, he was treated the same as any other member of the national team.

When the match started, however, the crowd began to single Piqué. The whistles grew louder as the match edged towards half time, with Spain already leading the visitors by three goals. 

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