Gerard Pique is one of those players like people tend to either love unconditionally or hate with all their might. Always prepared to speak his mind up, even about hot topics such as Catalan independence of the historical rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, the Catalan centre-back is no stranger to controversy.
However, being whistled and jeered by his own Spanish fans while contributing to Spain's victory over Slovakia (2-0) in Oviedo is something a professional of his calibre should not have to put up with.
Spanish manager Vicente Del Bosque explained after the match: "I find it unfortunate that there are people that whistles a player of the national team. The performance of most of the public in Oviedo has been fantastic these days. Gerard has played fantastically good football today."
Newly appointed Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta was not impressed either and urged for the negativity around his teammate to stop immediately: "It's something which hurts everyone. I'd like the fans to stop jeering. Everyone has to pull in the same direction if the national team are going to achieve success."
Personally, I strongly believe it is outrageous that a player who has given his all for Spain's national team is treated in such a negative manner. Given his outstanding contribution to the World Cup win in 2010 and in the Euro 2012, one would think that supporters would have a bit more respect for a player who has done nothing but work tirelessly to bring success to their national team.
While it is obvious that Pique's views on certain topics are difficult for some Spanish fans to understand, everybody's opinions must be respected and accepted. As long as Pique has the support of Del Bosque and his Spain teammates, that is all that matters -- although it would definitely make things easier if fans stopped abusing their own players.
Ultimately, if the situation didn't improve as a matter of urgency, it would be best if Pique stopped going on international duty altogether -- even though the player himself is determined to continue as normal.
Those who don't appreciate you don't deserve your service, Gerard!