Barcelona defender Gerard Pique’s intense rivalry with Real Madrid looks to have gone up another notch following criticism from former Los Blancos defender Oscar Ruggeri.
The Catalan center-back is unpopular with Real Madrid supporters and Ruggeri doesn’t seem to have much time for the 33-year-old either. He told Fox Sports Argentina that he thinks Pique is not a patch on Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos.
“Pique is a second-rate [player], like me, like many others. He’s good looking, he’s with the singer [Shakira], he has a cool beard, but if he played for Valencia, he wouldn’t be well known.
“Pique ended up playing for Barcelona. He’s like me – bang average. A good defender, but not much else. He doesn’t get put under pressure, except against the big teams. Sergio Ramos is the best [centre-back] in the world, by far.”
Ruggeri may not be as big a name as Pique but he was part of the Argentina squad that lifted the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He has also won league titles in his homeland with Boca Juniors and River Plate and claimed La Liga in 1990 with Real Madrid.
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Pique’s Record Speaks For Itself
Yet Ruggeri’s comments are unlikely to bother Pique who has won countless major titles in a glittering career. He’s claimed the World Cup and European Championship with Spain, along with eight La Liga titles with Barcelona, six Copas del Rey and three European Cups.
The center-back is no stranger to abuse either. He has regularly been jeered by fans of Espanyol, who are Barcelona’s local rivals, and even by Spain fans on international duty.
Pique has also never been afraid to make it clear just how strongly he feels towards Real Madrid.
“I’ll never change with regards to Barça’s rivalry with Real Madrid.
“That’s just me and always will be. Barcelona and Real Madrid have a heated rivalry, especially when one of them is doing well and the other isn’t. Let’s hope things go as badly as possible for Real Madrid.
“Of course I don’t want to be whistled but they won’t change me… I always want Real Madrid to lose, that will never change.”
Pique turned 33 in February but remains a crucial part of the Barcelona first team and is the club’s third captain after Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets. The defender has been a virtual ever-present for Barca again this season, featuring in 35 of the club’s 38 La Liga outings.
Real Madrid may have taken the league title this season, but Pique still outshines Ramos when it comes to silverware. The Barca defender has collected 29 major trophies in 12 years at the Camp Nou, while Ramos is a little way behind on 22.