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Atletico Madrid pair Filipe Luis and Koke with Gerard Pique of Barcelona
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'They are people who are not afraid to say what they think, who do not hide behind their fame'
Barcelona’s Gerard Pique has split opinion recently, but Filipe Luis is a big admirer of the defender’s outspoken nature.

ATLETICO MADRID DEFENDER Filipe Luis commended Barcelona’s Gerard Pique for speaking his mind with regards to the recent Catalan independence referendum, saying that more footballers should be like him.

Centre-back Pique has not been far from the headlines in recent weeks, with the 30-year-old coming out in support of the disputed vote without aligning himself with either side in the debate.

Despite refusing to publicly back the yes or no campaigns, some Spanish football fans jeered Pique during an open training session while away on international duty, with sections of their support questioning his commitment to Spain.

Filipe Luis, who will face Pique when Barcelona visit Atletico on Saturday, has come out in support of the former Manchester United youngster’s attitude.

Speaking to El Mundo, Filipe Luis said: “I am a fan of Pique, although I often disagree with what he says.

“But he dares, like [Alvaro] Arbeloa. They are people who are not afraid to say what they think, who do not hide behind their fame.

“They are admirable and hopefully more footballers will be like them.”

But the Brazilian, who has spent most of the last 12 years in Spain, cannot fathom the region’s desire to split from the country.

He added: “It [the referendum] is a subject that I follow daily and I cannot understand.

I respect it, but in a world that tends to unite and open frontiers, it doesn’t sound right to me that a community wants to close itself.

“I guess it’s because I have the vision of a Brazilian and in Brazil, with all its flaws, if the national anthem sounds, people are proud.

Left, right, it does not matter. People are proud of being Brazilian and something I cannot understand is why that doesn’t happen here [in Spain].

“Why do you want to separate? What do you think will be better?”

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