Barcelona defender Gerard Pique insisted he was merely crossing his fingers after being accused of raising his middle finger during the Spanish national anthem before his country’s Euro 2016 game against Croatia.
Pique, an outspoken supporter of a referendum for Catalan independence, was representing Spain for the 78th time in their 2-1 defeat to Croatia on Tuesday.
“I am crossing my fingers during the anthem,” Pique posted on his official Twitter account.
“We should stop looking for controversy where there is none and try to win the Euros together.”
Spanish sports daily Marca, a fierce critic of some of Pique’s other controversial acts, labelled those making the accusations as “lamentable”.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque was also visibly annoyed at being asked about the incident.
“I am here to talk about football,” said Del Bosque.
Pique was booed and whistled by Spain fans earlier this season for anti-Real Madrid comments made during Barcelona’s celebrations after winning the treble at the end of the 2014/15 season.
However, he received a hero’s reception during Spain’s 3-0 win over Turkey on Friday after scoring a late winning goal in a 1-0 win against the Czech Republic to open their Euro 2016 campaign in France.