Barcelona not dependent on Messi, insists Pique

The Argentine failed to score against either Chelsea or Real Madrid and the Blaugrana lost both games, but the Spain international argues that the Catalans are not a one-man team
Gerard Pique has rejected the accusation that Barcelona are dependent on star forward Lionel Messi.

The Argentina international bagged both goals in the win over Levante on April 14 but has failed to net in his last two subsequent outings, against Chelsea and Real Madrid, and Barca lost both games.

However, Pique does not believe that the Blaugrana are a one-man team and that nullifying Messi effectively means stopping Barcelona.

"Rival teams know about our strike force," the centre-back told reporters at a press conference on Monday.

"Messi helps us a lot but this is a team and we have other players who can score and decide a game. I don't believe in a Messi-dependency."

Pique also denied that Barca might have a mole in their camp after the line-up for Saturday's Clasico and the fact that Lionel Messi had sat out training on Sunday were both allegedly leaked to the press over the weekend.

"I don't think there is a leaks issue," the Spain international argued. "I don't think any one of the players would do that.

"The boss [Pep Guardiola] gives the starting line-up, we train and after that there are so many people talking so much, that it's difficult for it not to get to the press."

Turning his attention to Tuesday night's Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea, Pique is hoping that he is recalled to the starting line-up after sitting out the 2-1 defeat by Madrid because he enjoys testing himself against Didier Drogba.

"I have dealt with him on many occasions," he mused. "He is one of the best players I've seen.

"He is very complete and has been competing at the highest level for many years. I think it will be a very difficult duel - if I'm on the field, of course."

Drogba was criticised for the ease in which he went to ground in last week's first-leg clash at Stamford Bridge but Pique was reluctant to accuse the Ivorian of diving.

"I don't think we should criticise him," the former Manchester United defender opined. "If he keeps doing it then we'll see, but I believe in Drogba and in his honesty."

Barca's second-leg clash with Chelsea gets under way at Camp Nou on Tuesday at 20.45CET.