Patrick Kelechi, Lagos –
Gerard Pique had a dressing room row with former teammate and current Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez over a lack of playing time, the Mirror reports.
Pique has started just one of Barcelona’s eight matches this season – lining up against Cadiz in La Liga with his only other outing a Champions League substitute appearance against Viktoria Plzen.
Pique has fallen out of favour under Xavi, following the signings of Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen
Also, players like Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia enjoying regular playing time.
Pique remains one of Barca’s highest earners, despite accepting multiple salary deferrals and reductions in the past few years.
The 35-year-old has two seasons remaining on his contract, which ends in 2024.
It is said by the same report that Barca are hopeful he will stick to his previous promise of agreeing to leave the club once he falls out of the starting line-up. Pique is previously quoted as saying: “I will retire at Barcelona, but never as a substitute.”
Pique said after the embarrassing 8-2 Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich in 2020: “If tomorrow [Ronald] Koeman tells me I have to go, I will leave football. I am not going to play in another team that is not Barcelona.”
Barca chiefs are now reportedly keen on him coming good on that promise, especially after what was reportedly said between Pique and boss Xavi after last week’s Champions League defeat away to Bayern Munich.
The defender was reportedly overheard complaining to teammates about his lack of playing time, to which the unimpressed response from Xavi was: “And you are gonna play even less now.”
Pique is now fifth choice central defender at the club and it is likely that he is likely to have greatly limited playing time this season, although it is unlikely that he will end his career anywhere other than the Camp Nou.
He is another of the dressing room veterans who has had their playing time cut this campaign, holding midfielder Sergio Busquets is no longer playing in every game while Jordi Alba has dropped to third choice left-back – the Spain international rejected the club’s attempts to loan him to Inter on transfer deadline day earlier this month.