• Gerard Pique says he asked Lionel Messi to stay on at the club for at least one more year
  • The 33-year-old thinks Barcelona execs are not giving Messi what he deserves
  • Pique says it's disgraceful that the club spent money on criticizing its players

Barcelona vice-captain Gerard Pique made a shocking revelation as the Catalans prepare for the El Clasico match against ultimate rival Real Madrid.

In a recent exclusive interview with La Vanguardia, Pique addressed some of the major issues Barcelona players have been dealing with, including the club's eagerness to reduce their salaries and the way executives handled Messi’s situation. For Pique, the Barcelona captain deserves better treatment for everything he has done for the club.

"I asked [Messi] to stay on," the 33-year-old revealed. "I didn't have much dealings with him those days because I thought it was a very personal decision. I only said: 'Leo, it's a year, and then new people will come.'"

"I asked myself: 'How can it be that the best player in history, who we have had the incredible luck to enjoy, gets up one day and sends a burofax (recorded delivery mail) because he feels that they are not listening to him?' It's all too confrontational. What's going on?" Pique said. "Leo deserves everything. The new stadium and its sponsor should have his name (on it)."

Lionel Messi said he will stay at Barcelona but only because the club's president Josep Maria Bartomeu broke his word to let him leave
Lionel Messi said he will stay at Barcelona but only because the club's president Josep Maria Bartomeu broke his word to let him leave AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS

Pique also discussed reports that Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu had been aware that the club hired PR company I3 Ventures to criticize players on social media last season — known as “Barcagate” — an allegation that he had denied. For the center-back, it’s a shame that Bartomeu is linked to all this and that the people who are connected with the scandal are still with the club.

"I, as a Barca player, see that my club has spent money, money they're now asking us for [in salary reductions], to criticize us - and I'm not talking about criticizing people outside the club, but current players - it's atrocious," the veteran defender said.

"I asked [Bartomeu] for an explanation and he said 'Gerard, I didn't know about it', and I believed him," he explained. "But then you see that the person who was responsible for doing this is still working at the club. That hurts me a lot. And I'm saying that here because I've already said it to the president, too."

After reigning Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich humiliated Barcelona in the UFEA Champions League earlier this year, Pique made a shocking revelation, saying he would be willing to depart the club to make room for new talents.

"I'll go if new blood has to come in and change this dynamic because we've hit rock bottom. We all have to reflect internally and decide what's best for the club, which is the most important thing. This was unacceptable for a club like Barcelona," he said.

However, Pique was among the first-team players who recently “reached an agreement” for a contract extension. But he insisted that the reason behind his decision to stay is because the “club had given him everything as a player.” He is now tied-up with the Catalans until June 20, 2024, with a massive buyout clause of €500 million ($593 million).

Barcelona is set to face La Liga rival Real Madrid on Saturday at Camp Nou.

Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique celebrates putting Barcelona in front against Malaga at the Camp Nou. Reuters