Gerard Pique has risked the wrath of soccer supporters in Spain by taking aim at Real Madrid, suggesting that they are to blame for the recent backlash against him.
As reported by BBC Sport, the Barcelona defender, 28, was jeered by Spanish fans during Spain’s 2-0 win over Slovakia on Saturday.
According to The Telegraph, Pique has attracted ire from certain Spain supporters for his frequent outbursts against their beloved Real Madrid, a team heavily adored by the fans. He has also gained criticism for his apparent endorsement of Catalan independence, a political movement in Spain.
Fearing the risk of another outbreak against Pique in November, Spanish football authorities have relocated a friendly fixture with England from Madrid to Alicante. Pique was also jeered during a substitute appearance for his country in June, when he came on against Costa Rica.
Pique gave his thoughts during a press conference on Thursday, but his new comments about Real may further intensify an already hostile situation.
“When I play at the Bernabeu, I expect to get whistled, but not for the national team as it impacts on us all and affects the group. I’m proud of being a part of this Barça generation that won so much and during which Madrid didn’t win much.
I think they whistle me because of Barça-Madrid rivalry, but I won’t change. I’ll always want things to go bad for Madrid. I wore a Buffon shirt during the Champions League semi final [last season] and always want Madrid to lose. That’s the way the Madrid-Barça rivalry is.”
The former Manchester United defender also refused to apologize for his controversial remarks around Colombian singer, Kevin Roldan. The performer posted photos on social media of Real Madrid players celebrating Cristiano Ronaldo’s 30th birthday in February, just a few hours after a 4-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid, an incident that attracted much criticism for the players involved. A week later, Barcelona won the La Liga title.
During the celebration at the Nou Camp, Pique acknowledged the social media incident.
“We are the best team in the world! Thanks to all and thanks to Kevin Roldan, it all started with you.”
During the press conference on Thursday, Pique had this to say in response.
“I know the Kevin Roldan comment wasn’t elegant but I feel proud of what we’ve won with this club.”
A product of Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia, Pique left the club for Manchester United in 2004. Four years later, he returned to Barcelona under the guidance of Pep Guardiola and helped the club win a treble in 2008-09 and a legendary quadruple in 2009-10. Pique is one of four players to have won the UEFA Champions League two years in a row with different teams. He is also known worldwide as the spouse of the chart-topping pop singer, Shakira.
[Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images]