Gerard Pique finally broke his silence regarding everything that’s happening at the club, in an interview with La Vanguardia ahead of El-Clasico.
After the infamous 8-2 humiliation, Pique had come forward and asked for changes in the club, if needed, he had vowed to be the first to leave.
A lot of stuff happened after that; Messi sending Burofax, Motion of No Confidence, and just so much. Pique who’s usually outspoken at such occasions had maintained silence till now. He has finally given his say.
Q. How do you feel now? Why were you so silent?
A. I’m fine. The end of last year was full of drama, and we needed some time to digest it. On vacation, I did a reset. It’s all about starting over again.
Q. What do you think of Koeman?
A. Very good. The coach uses a straightforward message which the dressing room has liked, and the dose of work has also increased. We have started the season well; the defeat of Getafe was an unexpected blow. But, Let’s see what happens in the Clasico.
Q. Is it different now? Are you still firm on what you said after Lisbon?
A. When something like that happens, that will be marked forever in the club’s history, The leaders have to make decisions, reflect on themselves and see what needs to change because it is clear that the path we were going was not the right one. You can lose but never like that. I am still firm on what I said that day.
Q. Did you really think about leaving the club?
A. If the leaders or the coach did not count on me, I had no problem. Barça is above all; I wouldn’t mind. That’s how I felt.
“My relationship with the president may be cordial but there are things that remain”
– Gerard Piqué
Q. The changes you had asked for, has it happened the way you had imagined?
A. Many things needed profound changes. It is true that some have been made and perhaps not all of them can be done at once, but it sure is noticeable that things are done differently now.
Q. When do you think everything started to go wrong?
A. We touched the sky with the treble in 2015, and from there the club has been in downhill instead of growing, and that trend is unappealable. We hit rock bottom with 2-8, and we all had to do was, reset to see what is best for the club. Thinking about humility, unity and to be clear that nobody is irreplaceable.
Q. Was changing a coach mid-season (Valverde) a mistake?
A. Talking “with the Monday newspaper” as the Argentines say is very easy. We will never know why that happened, to me, after winning two leagues and being leaders, firing the coach in the middle of the season, as a project, does not seem coherent to me. I did not find it logical.
Q. Well, the captains were involved in that decision…
A. That is the crux of the matter. We are summoned to a meeting, and a message is transmitted to us, and it seems that we must approve or disapprove, all we were said was: “Gentlemen, that is a decision that you must make.”
Q. Do the players have much influence?
A. It is said a lot, I know. But a club works better, and everything is healthier for everyone when the hierarchies are well maintained. The president must be the first, and then the coach must rule over the players. When this hierarchy is broken, things don’t work. If the players at some point have had power, it is because other people have not had wanted to exercise theirs.
Q. What happened then?
A. More than getting us involved in decisions, what they did was let us know before it would be announced in public. We were never participants in that decision. Yes or no? That other decided.
Q. What kind of relationship do you have today with President Bartomeu?
A. I don’t want to get on badly with anyone, but there have been times…
Q. Can you give an example?
A. (Long silence). The issue of social media networks. As a Barça player, I see that my club has spent money, money that they are now asking from us, to criticize, not only external people with a historical relationship with the club, but also active players, and that is outrageous … I asked them for an explanation and what they told me was “Gerard, I didn’t know.” And I believed it. But, Then you see that the person in charge of hiring those services is still working at the club.
Q. Jaume Masferrer…
A. Exactly. And that hurts a lot. I say it here because I personally told the president before. And what do you want me to say? Is it painful? Yes. Can I do something else? Well, no. My relationship with the president may be cordial, but some things remain, that leaves an impact.
Q. And, that didn’t prevent you from renewing your contract recently… Isn’t that incongruous?
A. No. It is very simple. The club communicated to me, and other players that due to the pandemic the club will suffer a lot financially and in that situation, Barça is above anyone else. Barça has given me everything. They told me that all the money I can give up this year and can collect in the future. We did the math, and I proposed an amount that was fine with me, and it seems okay.
Q. Isn’t that the mortgage to the next directive?
A. I think we are helping the club. The backpack may be larger in the future, but for there to be a future, we must act like this now.
Q. You signed a new contract, but on the other hand, you also signed the Burofax with the squad refusing to sit at the negotiation table, why?
A. They are different things. Personally, each player is free to accept the club’s proposal voluntarily. But, the thing is that they force you unilaterally and that they do it with the ways that they have done it. I can’t entirely agree with that.
Q. What do you mean by ”the ways”?
A. They did it when many players were with their national teams, putting us in the same bag with all the workers.
Q. And the burofax arrives…
A. As captain, I defend the interests of the team and decide to sign it. And here, we are a united wardrobe. Then they say about a broken dressing room, and I don’t know what else.
Q. Have there been no tensions? It happens in any group when it comes to lowering wages…
A. We, four captains, are very close and we all have signed the burofax. We’ve had several meetings as a team, and we’ve explained it, and we’re all going for it together.
Q. And in the field, how is it going?
A. We have very young people, other more veterans, but we connect very well. There is a good locker room.
Q. There is a vote of no confidence in progress… were you expecting it?
A. My conclusion is that the club is more alive than ever. Achieving 20,000 signatures with the current situation seems outrageous to me. Some so many people are rebelling when you cannot demonstrate due to the pandemic shows that the club is not asleep.
Q. When would it be better to vote?
A. I don’t want to get in that topic. May it be now or in March. What deserves vindication is mobilization, and it shows that we belong to something that is very much alive.
Q. Would you go to vote in a referendum?
A. I would exercise my right to vote as a member.
Q. You won’t tell me your vote…
A. (Laughs) The vote is confidential.
Q. Let’s talk about games. Are there reasons to be optimistic about?
A. You have to start from humility. Recognizing that there are better teams in Europe right now. We have new faces that are giving us vitality and legs to push better. It is noticeable; I perceive it that we are playing differently.
“The club’s ways of negotiating salaries have been very bad, we totally disagree.”
Pique on Wage cut due to coronavirus
Q. You play like you train, says Koeman. Does that mean were you training little before?
A. You have to do self-criticism. When you lose against Bayern like that it is because you have neglected the routine, this does not happen overnight.
Q. Did you ever imagine Messi with another shirt? Some message did you send…
A. I didn’t have much contact with him in those days because I thought it was a very personal decision. I remember sending one message to him: “Leo, it’s a year, and then new people come …”
Q. How did you experience the whole thing?
A. Leo had earned the right to take those decisions and if he considered that he should go … I as the President, would have acted differently.
Q. In what sense?
A. A player who for 16 years has given you so much … You are obliged to agree with him. It cannot be so obvious that the two parties are so far apart.
Q. Was sending a burofax the way?
A. I wonder, How can it be that the best player in history, who we have had the holy luck to enjoy, gets up one day and sends a burofax because he feels that they are not listening to him? Everything is too shocking. What’s going on? Leo deserves everything. The new stadium should be given his name and then that of the sponsors. We must preserve our legends, not discredit them. It makes me very angry.
Q. Does that happen?
A. I am surprised that people like Pep, Puyol, Xavi or Valdés are not in the club. Something is not being done right. You always have to keep these people; they are part of the club’s history; they have made Barcelona great. They should be here.
Q. Messi is still here. How do you see him on a day-to-day basis?
A. I see him very well. He is very involved, excited. Leo is the reflection of the dressing room; he’s the example that others can follow. If he is okay, it gives me peace of mind.
Q. This Saturday the Classico is being played. How are you feeling?
A. We come from where we come from, but I am optimistic. Moderately optimistic.
Check out the Match preview of Upcoming El Clasico here.