Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said he would have acted differently as a president if Lionel Messi had decided to leave the club. During a riveting interview with La Vanguardia, Pique spoke on numerous issues including what he communicated to Messi during the burofax saga and his relationship with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Asked what relationship he has with President Bartomeu, Pique said: "I don't want to get on badly with anyone but there have been times ..."
Back in April, reports surfaced that Barcelona were hired a company called I3 Ventures to discredit opponents of Bartomeu online, including players like Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique. The Barca defender still could not come to grasp the situation as the person who hired I3 Ventures was reappointed.
"The case of social networks. As a Barca player, I see that my club has spent money, money that they are now asking from us, not only external people with a historical relationship with the club, but also active players, and that is outrageous ... I asked him for an explanation and what he told me was "Gerard, I didn't know." And I believed it. Then you see that, in future actions, the person in charge of hiring those services is still working at the club.
Asked if he was talking about Jaume Masferrer, Pique said: "Exactly. And that hurts a lot. I say it here because I personally told the president before. And what do you want me to say? It is painful? Yes. Can I do something else? Well, no. My relationship with the president may be cordial but there are things that stick with you.
Pique was also critical about how the club handled the Messi situation.
"I didn't have much contact with him those days because I thought it was a very personal decision. I remember one: "Leo, it's a year, and then new people come."
"Leo had more than earned a decision and if he considered that he should go ... I as president would have acted differently," he said.
"A player who for 16 years has given you so much ... You are obliged to come to an agreement with him. It cannot be so obvious that the two parties are so far apart. How can it be that the best player in history, who we have had the holy luck to enjoy, gets up one day and sends a burofax because he feels that they are not listening to him? Everything is too shocking. What's going on? Leo deserves everything. The new stadium should have your name and then that of the sponsor. We must preserve our figures, not discredit them. It makes me nervous," he concluded.