It’s a while yet until the next league Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, but that hasn’t stopped Gerard Pique baiting Los Blancos ahead of the fixture.
The elegant centre-back is on his way back to fitness after being sidelined for a few months, but the date against the eternal rivals isn’t one he’ll want to miss.
In fact, it’s believed that he wants to be fit for the first leg of the Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain in mid-February, so if all goes well, he’ll be back in the groove by the time the blaugranes have to visit the Santiago Bernabeu.
It’s unlikely that he’ll be given a warm welcome after his latest outburst, however, and never one to be lost for words, Pique might just have overstepped the mark this time.
“The other day a former referee said that 85 percent of the referees support Real Madrid,” he said to Post United and cited by the Daily Star.
“How are they not going to whistle in favour of Real Madrid? Even unconsciously, how are they not going to give more for one side than the other?
“And I respect the referees’ professionalism and I know they try to do their best job, but when a moment of doubt comes…”
It’s language that’s sure to rile Los Blancos but that won’t worry Pique who knows that mind games beforehand are as much a part of the fixture as the match itself.