La Liga president Javier Tebas has labelled Barcelona defender Gerard Pique “an example to footballers”, despite his very public falling out with the Catalan club this season, as well as Pique’s apparent challenging of the league chief over the standard of refereeing in Spain.
The Barça centre-back appeared to call out Tebas earlier in January following a serious of controversial referee decisions that went against the team, shouting and pointing up at the president in the aftermath of Los Cules’ draw with Villarreal.
However, when asked his opinion of Pique on Friday, Tebas refused to rise to the bait and praised the 29-year old Spanish international.
“He is a great professional,” said Tebas. “A very intelligent and well-prepared lad who also has a life outside football, with his companies and his projects. He’s an example for footballers.”
Addressing the recent refereeing controversies that prompted Pique to challenge him in the first place, Tebas said he accepted there will be protestations, but underlined that he didn’t feel personally responsible for the performance of officials.
"I do not feel guilty for the defeats of any team"
“Complaints about referees do not damage the image of LaLiga,” said Tebas. “They are not good, but don’t have to be removed. They are young boys, who finish the game hot-headed...but let's not start fires where there aren’t any.
“And no, I do not feel guilty for the defeats of any team, even if there is someone who blames me,” he concluded, clearly making reference to the Pique incident.