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Spain's Gerard Pique gets Julen Lopetegui support after boos by fans

A lethargic Spain were able to narrowly draw against a feisty Colombia side that provided end-to-end action.
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Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has said he is unhappy with the hostile treatment Gerard Pique is receiving by some fans when he plays for the national team.

The Barcelona defender started in Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Colombia in an international friendly in Murcia and was jeered by some Spanish supporters every single time he touched the ball.

In the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) game report it read: "Pique was very firm at the back, despite the rude whistles that accompanied almost all his interventions."

"Everyone is entitled to do what they want but I don't think it's good that a player is booed," Lopetegui said after the game as reported in Marca.

"Gerard gives everything on the pitch, his commitment is beyond doubt and if they boo him, they are not doing him justice."

The outspoken Pique has been jeered by a large section of fans of Spain's national team in recent years due to jibes he has directed at Real Madrid.

Lopetegui's predecessor Vicente del Bosque and Spain captain Sergio Ramos have defended the Barca star in the past.

The 30-year-old, who announced last October that he would retire from the national team after next summer's World Cup in order to allow "future generations to take his place," has blamed the local media for keeping the issue in the spotlight.

An angry Pique told the media after Wednesday's game as reported in AS: "Why do you pay so much attention to this? Why don't you talk about football instead? This is news because you [media] want it.

"You make this sound important and make them whistle me. It's not down to [Catalan] independence, have you ever heard me take a stance on this before?"

Pique says the whistles are simply because he likes riling Real Madrid players and fans with his comments and use of Twitter.

"I've said it 1,000 times and I'm tired of saying it again," he said. "It's always the same, this country is divided between Barca and Madrid fans and the latter feel annoyed by my comments."

Earlier this year, Pique questioned Real Madrid's values and hinted on Twitter that Madrid were getting preferential treatment from referees.

In December 2015, Pique expressed his delight when Real Madrid were expelled from the 2015-16 Copa del Rey for fielding ineligible player Denis Cheryshev in the last 32 of the competition and posted nine laughing emojis.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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