Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique has been given the chance to reignite his international career after being included in Spain’s preliminary World Cup squad.
The veteran defender retired from international duty in the aftermath of the 2018 World Cup and has not played for his country since, although reports emerged earlier this year suggesting Pique was considering making a return.
Now, numerous Spanish outlets have claimed that Pique has earned a place in Luis Enrique’s preliminary 55-man squad ahead of the tournament.
Enrique has chosen not to make his full squad public and will instead confirm a final team of between 23 and 26 players on November 11, but it is understood that Pique is in with a genuine shot of making the squad.
Pique’s hypothetical call-up comes at perhaps the lowest point of the defender’s Barcelona career, with the 35-year-old well down in the pecking order at Camp Nou.
Manager Xavi has preferred Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Eric Garcia to the high-earning Spaniard, who has started just four games in all competitions.
This weekend’s 1-0 victory over Valencia was a perfect example of Pique’s standing in the squad. With Araujo and Christensen injured, Xavi opted to start Kounde and Garcia. The latter went off injured in the first half and it was left-back Marcos Alonso who came on as his replacement at centre-back.
Kounde went off injured later on and Pique was so surprised to be given the nod that he had not warmed up and was not even wearing his boots at the time.