Gerard Pique: I will not step down from Spain national side despite fans' jeers

Gerard Pique says stepping down from the Spanish national team is the last thing he would ever do despite criticism from some supporters of La Roja.

Pique, 28, was jeered by a number of fans every time he touched the ball during Saturday's Euro 2016 qualifying win against Slovakia in Oviedo, and had been given the same treatment in Leon back in June against Costa Rica.

Asked if he had considered stepping down, the Barcelona centre-back said in a news conference on Thursday: "At no time. I will not step down from the national team, it's the last thing I would do.

"As long as the coach [Vicente del Bosque] has confidence in me and calls me up, I will be there."

Pique says the jibes he directed at Real Madrid while celebrating Barcelona's treble-winning campaign -- and also following the Catalan's European Super Cup triumph over Sevilla last month -- are the reason why he is in trouble with the fans, and not because of his support for Catalan independence.

"Last September, I took part in the Diada [Catalunya Day] and a few days later, I played for the national team and was not booed," the Barcelona-born player said. "From my point of view, the jeers are down to the rivalry that exists between Real Madrid and Barcelona and what was said."

Asked if he had regrets, Pique said: "Absolutely not. I will do it again and a million times more. It's who I am, I will not change. I'm very passionate.

"I always want Real Madrid to lose -- that is the rivalry. It has always been like that. I love this club more than anything and when things go well for Barca, things go badly for Real and vice versa.

"When Real Madrid played against Juventus in the semifinals [of the Champions League], I was wearing a [Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi] Buffon jersey around the house.

"I know what I said was not elegant but it was never intended to offend anyone. However, my relationship with Real Madrid players in the Spain team is wonderful."

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos earlier this week reprimanded Pique and said his recent actions had not helped the cause.

"My relationship with Ramos is not fantastic but it's good," Pique said. "It started off cold but it has gotten better and I feel comfortable playing with him in the national team.

"People want to complicate things but in the locker room we are one."

Pique insists the booing doesn't affect him but hopes it stops for the sake of the national team, saying: "People have a right to express themselves. We live in a democracy.

"The jeers honestly haven't affected me but it does affect the team. I feel bad for the coach, who I have a lot of respect for, and for my teammates. It's not pleasant for them.

"What hurts me is that they [the fans that boo] question my commitment to the national team. My commitment since I made my debut with the under-15 side in 2003 has always been maximum.

"I have made 70 appearances for Spain since my senior debut and I don't have to defend myself because I have done nothing wrong. I don't know if this is going to increase.

"If I'm here today it is because I hope that it will not be the case, that it will decrease. I will give my best from my part for this situation to change but it doesn't depend on me.

"We need for people to be with us in order to achieve great things together."

Spain need two more points from their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign to defend their trophy at next year's tournament in France, and host Luxembourg on Oct. 9 in Logrono before playing in Kiev against Ukraine three days later.