Spain captain Ramos praises king's Catalonia speech

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Spain captain Sergio Ramos has insisted that he has a "great relationship" with Gerard Pique, days after the Real Madrid defender criticised his Barcelona counterpart for publicly backing the Catalan referendum.

Worldwide attention was garnered as the Catalan population took part in a vote which was deemed illegal by Spain's government and as a tumultuous period continues for the country, Pique has urged that only respectful discussions on both sides will be able to resolve the issue.

"We are soccer players and coaches, we have to be focused on our main goal, which is to qualify for the World Cup", Lopetegui said.

"I have been playing for Spain for nearly ten years - I don't want to leave by the back door", confirmed the defender, who also denied rumors of a bad relationship between himself and Sergio Ramos, saying the two were going to open a business together.

Pique has earlier talked of leaving the Spain national squad if his opinion about Catalonia's independence is any kind of botheration to the officials.

"I think sport and the behaviour of the boys this week leads the way to show what we are and what we can be as a team".

As expected, numerous nearly 30,000 fans in the crowd in the southeastern city of Alicante booed Pique almost every time he touched the ball.

Bartomeu avoided talking about Barcelona's future in the Spanish league if Catalonia declares independence.

With Finland surprisingly holding Croatia to 1-1 away, and Ukraine taking three points from Kosovo after a 2-0 away win, the tightest group in European qualifying will have to be decided on Monday in the last round of matches.

FC Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique on Wednesday maintained that a Catalan separatist could play for Spain's football team, but regretted that this was not the case for him.

Rodrigo Moreno, Isco and Thiago Alcantara scored three goals in 11 minutes to set up a comprehensive win which was topped off with news from Rome that Italy had been held to a 1-1 draw by Macedonia, clinching Spain's spot in Russian Federation as Group G winners.

"Why would someone in favour of independence not want to play for Spain?".

"I don't go in and out of ideas".

The midfielder backed Pique a day later, but said it was inevitable his team mate would face the wrath of some supporters against Albania.

"He's a player of a very high level and he knows how to handle these things well so I don't think it's going to affect him very much". It's too easy to just say that when we turn up at training we need to have these clear the air talks because we are so far apart.

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