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SOCCER

Will Gerard Piqué still be playing at Barcelona next season?

There are some members of the Barcelona hierarchy who feel the time has come to part ways with the defender.

Update:
Barça starting to wonder about Gerard Piqué
JUAN MEDINAREUTERS

Gerard Piqué has become a matter of debate within the Barcelona boardroom, with the veteran defender’s future under question. His persistent injury problems last season and the hierarchy’s feeling that he is too often in the headlines for things other than football – most recently due to indiscretions that led to the end of his relationship with Shakira – and his many off-pitch business interests have led some to form the opinion that the time has come to part company with the 35-year-old.

See also: Piqué caught in his car with Shakira

Barça keen to get Piqué off the wage bill

Then there is the question of Piqué's salary. Barcelona are desperately trying to trim their wage bill to meet Liga requirements and to be able to reinforce Xavi’s side this summer and the defender is on annual wage of €19 million. The club’s executive branch feel that his contribution on the pitch no longer matches the amount of money he receives but Piqué still has two years remaining on his contract. At a time when Barça are asking players to take pay cuts and looking for ways to tighten the club’s belt, Piqué's salary is a burden. A hypothetical departure would free up significant funds for Barça to pursue other targets this summer, among them Robert Lewandowski and Bernardo Silva.

However, Barça are aware that Piqué is a club legend and remains a fan favourite, so it would seem likely that any decision on his future will have to come from the player himself. In an interview with EL PAÍS in 2011, Piqué said he would not consider retiring as a substitute and after the 8-2 mauling by Bayern Munich in Lisbon in the 2019-20 Champions League, the defender said he would be the first to walk away if he was considered a problem. Whether he now considers himself in that situation only he knows, and if he decides to continue at Barça to see out his contract it is unlikely the board will force the issue, but there are some in positions of power at Camp Nou who feel that maybe the time has come for Piqué to walk away.

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