Fabregas told me 'he's off', says Pique

The defender says that Barcelona have not shown his team-mate the respect that he deserves since rejoining them from Arsenal, who are one of the Premier League clubs interested
Gerard Pique has criticised Barcelona for the way in which they have treated team-mate Cesc Fabregas and was overheard suggesting that he would leave this summer.

The midfielder has failed to cement himself as a key player for the Catalan giants since he rejoined them from Arsenal back in 2011.

A host of Premier League clubs are keen to offer him an escape route, with Manchester City already preparing a £30 million offer for the Spain international while the Gunners are also interested.

Pique was captured by microphones speaking to Spain boss Vicente del Bosque at a press conference and, despite shielding his mouth from the watching media, appeared to state: "We have to defend Cesc a little. He told me it's done. He's off - €33m [£27m], he said to me."

Pique hopes that his Spain team-mate will ignore the advances of his Premier League admirers and remain with Barca but accepts that the club have not shown Fabregas the respect that he deserves.

"I really like Cesc and I know he is going through a tough time because the club don't appreciate him as much as they should," the defender told reporters.

"He is one of those players who would be first choice at any other club in the world, the star of the team.

"Despite that, he is finding it harder at Barca. I don't know what he's going to do; we haven't spoken about that.

"I hope he stays, because if you look at his stats this season, he is our highest-scoring midfielder and the one with the most assists. Of course I want him to stay with us."