Catalonia independence dispute reaches Spain's national team

Published 7:02 a.m. ET Oct. 4, 2017 | Updated 8:07 a.m. ET Oct. 4, 2017

MADRID (AP) — The divisive dispute over Catalonia’s push for independence has spilled into Spain’s national team.

“La Roja” has been unable to sidestep the nation’s most serious crisis in decades. The team now faces two decisive World Cup qualifiers while engulfed by unwanted talks about politics.

At the center of it all is veteran defender Gerard Pique, the outspoken Barcelona player who has strongly defended the Catalans.

His harsh criticism of Spanish authorities following the region’s disputed independence referendum on Sunday polarized fans and attracted some unwanted attention to the national team.

He was harassed by fans at Spain’s training camp in Madrid on…

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