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‘It’s barbaric’ – Gerard Pique’s open criticism of Barcelona’s board lights the blue touch paper ahead of El Clasico

It’s long been contended that there’s a deepening rift between the Barcelona players and the board at the club, and Gerard Pique’s latest broadside against his paymasters has widened that depth of feeling considerably.

On the eve of the first El Clasico of the season, Pique, never backwards in coming forwards, has taken aim at Josep Maria Bartomeu and his colleagues.

It could be said that such a move is tactical, designed to get supporters to vote Bartomeu out at the upcoming vote of no confidence.

Regardless, there was no room for interpretation in his interview.

“It’s barbaric that the club has spent money criticising us,” he said to La Vanguardia, cited by Forbes, in relation to the ‘Barcagate’ scandal, where it’s believed that Bartomeu instructed a company, i3 Ventures, to belittle senior players such as Pique, Lionel Messi and others.

“He [Jordi Masferre, charged with working with i3 Ventures on behalf of the board] is still working at the club and that is very painful.

“[…] I didn’t think it was consistent to kick the coach out mid-season [when we were] leading and [after] having won the previous two leagues.

“[…] I’m surprised people like [Pep] Guardiola, Xavi, [Carles] Puyol or [Victor] Valdes aren’t at the club.”

As ever, the game against Real Madrid is always the most important of the season, whenever it should fall, and with Los Blancos having lost badly against both Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, the game is Barca’s to lose.

Pique’s words may well have a galvanising effect on his team-mates too.

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