The director of AS, Alfredo Relano, published a letter on their website apologising to Gerard Pique for having attacked him unjustly. The Madrid-based newspaper were the first in giving credence to the false controversy generated over Pique's shirt sleeves. In the light of his announced retirement from international duty, this is the letter published on their site (from the AS English version):
"I hope Gerard Piqué thinks better of it, just as Lionel Messi has. But, as with the Argentine, I understand his weariness. He's a figure who's been mistakenly maligned: he has been very combative towards Real Madrid, he has adopted radical stances in his comments almost without precedent, but when it comes to the national team he's always been exemplary. As there are Madrid fans everywhere you go, however, he began to be jeered in Spain games, in a sorry fad that was beginning to dwindle. Whether intentionally or by accident, many confused the motivation behind those whistles, lending them a viscous political complexion.
"Speaking specifically on the matter, Piqué has previously sought to separate the two issues, in a move which is welcome. Though some of his attacks on Real have seemed excessive to me, anything that's based on purely footballing rivalry is at the end of the day harmless and can be understood. The conflict over Catalan identity, which we've struggled to deal with for a while, is another issue - and he's never gone there. Piqué has always been a model Spain player, like so many others from his club. Barcelona have contributed more men to the team throughout its history than any other side, it should not be forgotten.
"And now this misinterpreted incident over his cut-away sleeves has tipped him over the edge; the straw that broke the camel's back. Others before him have announced their intention not to be considered for La Roja duty after a long international career; that's nothing new. But he'd be the first to do it over the 'Catalan conflict', and it'd be a dismal chapter in a historic period. So I hope he changes his mind, and I offer him our apologies for the hastiness with which, for 20 minutes, this newspaper's online version initially reported on the storm whipped up on social media, that impenetrable hubbub from which very little good ever emerges."