Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has launched a scathing attack on the club’s board just days after signing a new long-term contract at the club.
The former Spain international was the surprising name on the four-player list of contract renewals at the Catalan giants that was confirmed on Tuesday night.
As highlighted by Marca, Pique will be aged 37 by the time his current deal – which is likely to be his last – expires in the summer of 2024.
However, he has now taken this moment to launch an attack on the ownership of the club following the “Barcagate” scandal that came to light earlier this year.
Cadena Ser’s show El Larguero revealed documents from Barcelona earlier this year which appeared to show the club paying a third party to damage the reputation of individuals, including their own players Lionel Messi and Pique.
The Catalan club always strenuously denied any truth in the reports, saying that they had neither paid nor promoted anyone to denounce or attack others – who have been opponents to the current board in some form at some point – online.
It was claimed by the Cadena Ser report that the reason for the Blaugrana paying companies to promote these messages were firstly to improve the image of current president Josep Maria Bartomeu and devalue the opinions of his opponents.
It was claimed that Barcelona paid the company I3 Ventures to promote their own messages both on Twitter and Facebook, with the report claiming they had access to the transactions.
Barca explained that their relationship with I3 involved “monitoring of social media with the aim of analysing both positive and negative messages about the organisation itself.”
A report in Diario Sport from February claimed Bartomeu handed the club’s four captains – including Messi and Pique – a dossier in a meeting at the time of the allegations with all the messages and confirmed that he broke relations with the company, making it clear that the club had not at any time entrusted the company with any derogatory comments.
“It is outrageous that the club has spent money criticising us,” Pique told La Vanguardia on Friday, and as quoted by ESPN.
“It’s an atrocity as a Barcelona player to see my club spending money – money they’re now asking for from us – to criticise not just external people with a previous relationship to the club, but players still here.”
Despite penning a new contract at the Camp Nou, Pique added his name to a burofax sent to the club criticising their decision to attempt to enforce 30 percent wage cuts across the club.
“Renewing and signing the burofax are different things,” Pique added. “Personally, any player is free to voluntarily accept an offer from the club. It’s another issue when they’re obliging you unilaterally and in the way they did.
“I am in total disagreement with that. They did it when many players were with their national teams, putting us in the same bracket as the other employees. As a captain, I defend the team’s interests and decided to sign [the burofax]. The dressing room is united [even if] they say it’s broken.”