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The Barcelona defender believes that "the media often creates characters which don't exist" and claims the Sweden striker proved he should be admired during his time at Camp Nou

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has come out in defence of former team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic and AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, insisting they are less of a problem to teams than the media depict them to be.

The Catalan defender claims that despite the reported off-the-field problems that both players have had in their careers, the media have played a part in creating unfair representations of their character.

"I know that Ibrahimovic and Balotelli are nice boys and are fun to chat and play with," he told Sky Sport 24.

"The media often creates characters which don't exist. When Ibra was here at Barcelona, he proved to be a good person and a player to be admired.

"Of course, the relationship between the player and the coach [Pep Guardiola] was always complicated. Footballers want to play all the time and when they don't get their wish, that's when problems arise."

Pique would not be drawn into revealing the details of Ibrahimovic's relationship with Guardiola but was pleased to see the two have moved on to new clubs at the top of European football.

"I don't know what went on between Ibrahimovic and Guardiola, but I believe Zlatan is now happy to PSG, and so will Guardiola be in Germany [at Bayern Munich]," he added.

"Fate takes you where you deserve to be and both are now at great clubs and at the height of their talents."

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