- Defender has brought career to a close
- Sent off without taking to the field in final game
- Insists he did not swear at match officials
WHAT HAPPENED? The World Cup-winning defender was unable to take to the field during his last match as a Blaugrana player after being sent off at half-time for protesting against decisions made by match official Jesus Gil Manzano. The referee’s match report suggested that Pique had launched into a foul-mouthed tirade, leading to him being dismissed without leaving the bench - but the 35-year-old insists that was not the case.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to Ibai Llanos on Twitch about the controversial end to his career at Camp Nou, Pique said: “I’ve been doing interviews since I was 17 years old. Now I’m free, you no longer have to be pigeonholed and answer what you have to. I didn’t sh*t on anyone’s mother. I’ll explain how it was and I understand that it’s current. At half-time, after the referee harmed us, Robert’s first yellow is not a yellow, there is no corner, then the foul on Marcos Alonso… it’s not that they are dubious plays. The corner, the ball does not pass near anyone.
“We go into the tunnel and I told him that he always harms us. With that alone he sends me off. I’m surprised he sent me off for that. At the smallest thing, they send you off, you can’t say anything. In the Premier League, they allow you to talk to them. I, already sent off, go into the locker room with more team-mates who came from playing. There is someone inside who says ‘I sh*t on the f*cking mother of...’. The referee listens to him from his locker room and puts the words in my mouth.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pique added on Manzano supposedly editing his match report to make him sound worse: “What it says in the report is once I’ve already been sent off, they don’t send me off for that. They only send me off for saying ‘You’re the same as always’. He did it because they want to suspend me for six or eight games, even though I’m retired.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:DAZN
WHAT NEXT? Pique, who won the World Cup and European Championship while earning 102 caps for Spain, has bowed out at Barca after taking in 616 appearances for the club – with eight La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns claimed during the most distinguished of careers.