Gerard Pique says he will not accept people doubting his commitment to the Spain national team, but that does not mean he does not support Catalonia's right to choose whether to be independent.
Euro 2012 and World Cup 2010 winner Pique's feelings for La Roja were questioned when he asked to be left out of the most recent international squad due to a hip injury, before he subsequently played for his club in La Liga.
Pique was also present at last week's "diada" celebrations of the national day of Catalonia, when he and his son attended a huge gathering on Thursday evening in favour of a proposed vote on self-determination, something which has been deemed illegal by the authorities in Madrid.
Ahead of Wednesday's Champions League opener against APOEL at the Camp Nou, the defender told a news conference that feeling Catalan did not mean he had not always given everything when playing for Spain.
"You cannot doubt me," Pique said. "I have been 11 years with the Spain national team, I have always given everything and have left my skin out there in every game. A different thing is to feel Catalan and to be in favour of the vote, which I believe is something democratic and which should take place. I believe that the people have a right to decide."
On his attendance of the "diada" celebrations, Pique said it had been an enjoyable occasion for him and his family.
"I am Catalan, I went with my people and I enjoyed the day," he said. "It was a remarkable day for the party atmosphere."
The 27-year-old, who started on the bench but then entered at half-time in last weekend's 2-0 home win over Athletic Bilbao, admitted his hip was not quite right yet, but said his being left out of the team had been because coach Luis Enrique preferred to start Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu.
"Physically I am good, although the hip is not at 100 percent I can play perfectly with it," Pique said. "It was a technical decision for Mathieu to play. Sometimes the hip bothers me a bit, but I can train and play without a problem. I am happy with my performances."
Luis Enrique also spoke to the media, confirming that right-back Dani Alves was over a knee problem and could play on Wednesday evening, but declining to say any more about his possible selection for the game.
The Asturian did say that his side's start to the season, which has them go top of the early La Liga table with three wins from their opening three games, was good preparation for beginning their Champions League campaign.
"It is a good moment to be going into the game," Luis Enrique said. "We have things to improve, but we are ready. We have had a good start to the season. There are things about the team which are very good. There will be moments when results do not come and we must be ready for them."