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The Barcelona defender believes the media portray football’s supposed “bad boys” unfairly, suggesting all they want to do is concentrate on their game

Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique has came out in defence of former team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic and AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, insisting they are not as bad as the media depict them to be.

The Catalan defender says, despite the reported off-the-field problems that both have had in their careers, the media have created their personas, and they are actually good people to be around.

“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 was always complicated. Footballers want to play all the time and when they don't get their wish, that's when problems arise.”

He also stated he believed the two have moved on, and thoroughly deserve the success which has accompanied their respective careers.

Pique added: “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].

“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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