BARCELONA

Piqué tears into Bartomeu

In an interview in today's Catalan daily La Vanguardia, the defender takes the president to task over Barçagate and how the Messi affair was handled during the summer.

Gerard Piqué (33 años)

Just ahead of the first El Clasico of the new season, Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué is making waves after an interview with the defender was published in today's edition of Catalan daily La Vanguardia. Piqué has been quiet since the Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich in August and also remained silent when Messi announced he planned to leave the club some weeks later.

Barçagate

In the La Vanguardia interview the player initially claimed that: "my relationship with the president could be cordial" before unleashing a strong attack on Josep Maria Bartomeu. "It's an absolute disgrace that the club has spend substantial sums of money on criticising us", he claimed, in a direct reference to the scandal commonly known as Barçagate, where the football club is alleged to have paid a social media agency to create fake online profiles criticising players both past and present. Piqué also singled out Bartomeu's assessor Jaume Masferrer (one of the executives rumoured to be behind the Barçagate initiative): "He's still a club employee and that hurts".

Piqué also criticised the club's attempts to reduce salary levels claiming: "the club's way of handling this is far from ideal and we're all not happy with this manner of doing things". He did add that his motivation to renew his contract with the Catalan side was due to the fact that the club had given him everything as a player, hence the contract extension.

Valverde dismissal 

He also took Bartomeu to task over the sacking of Basque coach Ernesto Valverde: "It didn't seem coherent to me to sack a coach halfway through the season being top of the table and having won the last two leagues" and was also unhappy in the way the club handled the situation with Lionel Messi in the summer when the Argentine issued a burofax stating his intention to leave Camp Nou. "I asked Leo to hold out, the Camp Nou should bear his name and Messi deserves everything", stated the defender.  Piqué admitted that he kept his distance from the matter as it was a personal issues and did admit sending the Argentine a message stating: "within a year, there will be new people in charge", adding "one is obliged to come to an arrangement with a player who has spent 16 years at the club. What has forced the best player in history to send a burofax to the club as he feels he's not being listened to. It's a shocking level to reach".

FC Barcelona v Osasuna - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - July 16, 2020 Barcelona's Gerard Pique during the warm up, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Piqué also reflected on recent Camp Nou heroes stating: "I'm surprised that the likes of Guardiola, Xavi, Puyol or Valdés are not at the club and I believe these individuals should always be involved with Barça as they have written key pages in the history book".

Piqué also reflected on the power of the dressing room stating: "If at any time, the players have held this power, it's due to the fact that others didn't want to use theirs" and concluded in a 'moderately optimistic' mood ahead of Saturday's game against Real Madrid at Camp Nou.