Why did Pep Guardiola fine Gerard Piqué €12,000 during their time at Barcelona?
In an interview with Jijantes, the former Barça defender also gave his thought on a possible return to Camp Nou for Lionel Messi.
Gerard Piqué announced his retirement from soccer across his different social media accounts last November but has done anything but fade from the limelight. Speaking to Gerard Romero of Spanish media outlet Jijantes, the former Barcelona and Manchesters United defender let slip that Pep Guardiola handed him a huge fine when both were at the club due to a breach of discipline.
“Tension” between Gerard Piqué and Pep Guardiola at Barça
“Pep and I had an incredible relationship but there was a little bit more tension between us in his final year. Every New Year’s Eve, I would get hammered in Puigcerdà [a Catalan village near the border with France and Spain]. It was cold and I always wore short sleeves. I had tonsillitis on 2 January every year. He left me out of a game away to Tenerife and didn’t even take me on the trip”, recalled Piqué, who was a regular starter in defence at that time.
And the ‘punishment’ didn’t end there, with the now Manchester City boss forcing his player to pay a €12,000 fine and take the whole squad out for a meal. Guardiola refused to tolerate such indiscipline, which the World Cup-winning defender had a simple explanation for. “I was 22 years old at the time and went out more than the bins. I was always pushing the boundaries, seeing how far I could go”, he said.
Guardiola’s time at Manchester City
Piqué was also asked about his former manager’s time at Manchester City. “He has a lot of things working in his favour there. The people who run the club, the press don’t bother him half as much as they did [in Barcelona]...he feels comfortable there and will stay there as long as he wants. People don’t realise that in Barcelona there comes a point when you have to protect yourself to such an extent that you don’t care about anything else. People are very passionate and, when the team isn’t winning, they have to find something other than soccer”.
PSG star Lionel Messi’s possible return to Barcelona
Piqué also spoke about one of the hottest topics surrounding Barcelona, in an on-the-field sense at least: Lionel Messi’s possible return. “I know him, I know what he’s like and he will always tell you what you want to hear. He is a great person and will choose the right words. That’s it. For all the Barcelona fans around he world, it would be incredible if he came back. But trying to force things too much can be counterproductive. Some kind of deal can always be done in the world of soccer”.
Ansu Fati’s Barça “mistake”
Finally, the former Spain international gave his thoughts on controversial statements made by Ansu Fati’s father regarding his son’s lack of game time under Xavi Hernández. “It’s very complicated. Soccer started on the streets. In the United States, on the other hand, athletes are more prepared for what’s to come. If you’re not prepared for it - and I’m speaking in general here - you surround yourself with people you trust and that’s usually your family. But these relatives are not prepared for it either. I am not talking about Fati, I am speaking in general.
“Your father or your brother don’t have the skills to be your agent and they begin to manage your money and deal with professionals. They feel compelled to say they will do it and the player’s mindset is that they’d prefer their father or brother to make money instead of an agent. And that is a mistake. You have to put yourself in the hands of competent people. It doesn’t help that agents are frowned upon in Europe. It is a murky world, with commissions which are worth millions”.