Spain manager Luis Enrique has revealed that Gerard Pique was on his initial 55-player shortlist for this winter's World Cup in Qatar prior to his shock retirement.
Pique confirmed in recent weeks that he would be leaving Barcelona this month and would not consider playing for any other club.
His final match for Barça came in a win at Camp Nou against Almeria, while he was sent off as an unused substitute in their comeback victory at Osasuna.
Enrique confirmed his 26-player squad to head to Qatar on Friday, with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Thiago Alcantara omitted from the final roster.
"Yes, Gerard was on the pre-list," Enrique said. "He is one of the most important centre-backs in Spain of all time and I put him on the list not as one of the first options, but as a possibility if anyone dropped out.
"Pique is a competitive beast, a great player. Last season, he ended up playing injured and producing excellent performances like always. That is why he was on the list.
"For me, he is a great centre-back. Another thing is the situation with his club, but I can't control that. He is a top-level centre-back. I ended up going for continuity, though, which is why I picked others in the end."
Pique ended his career with 102 caps for Spain, winning the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with La Roja.