Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was on target for the Catalan giants during the team’s 4-2 win over Napoli in the Europa League and joked after the match he would be a goal machine if he played up front.
The center-back scored Barcelona’s fourth of the match with a low finish past goalkeeper Alex Meret and told Movistar after the game he think he would be a prolific striker given the chance, as reported by Sport.
“I always say if I was a striker I would score 15 or 20 goals a season,” he said. “But the truth is I have also had a great time at the back!”
Pique’s goal saw the defender become Barcelona’s oldest goalscorer in European competition at the age of 35 years and 22 days. It’s the center-back’s third of the season as he’s also scored against Real Sociedad in La Liga and Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.
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Barcelona ‘Getting Back To Our Origins’
The Barcelona veteran also spoke about the team’s improved form under Xavi after another impressive victory. The win followed on from strong performances against Atletico Madrid and Valencia in La Liga.
Pique feels his team are heading in the right direction under the new coach and thinks that the victory in Napoli will send out a message to the world that Barca are on their way back, as reported by ESPN.
“We have not been competing in Europe at the level a club like Barca should be,” he said. “[But now] we have gone back to our origins, something we maybe had stopped doing recently. It’s a message for everyone, for us and for people on the outside, that little by little we’re on our way back. We’re on the right path.”
The win has sent Barcelona into the last 16 of the competition and a two-legged tie against Turkish side Galatasaray. The first leg will take place at the Camp Nou on Thursday, March 10.
Puyol Praises Xavi’s Barcelona
Pique’s former center-back partner Carles Puyol is also happy with the direction the team is heading in after the win over Napoli. The defender took to Twitter after the victory in Italy to offer his thoughts on the team’s current progress.
He wrote, “When Barça hired Xavi, I said we would win the league, I bet a dinner, I don’t know if I’ll pay for it, but what I know for sure is that I like this team. And I’m sure it will give us joy, sooner rather than later.”
Barcelona are on a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions which has seen the team move into the last 16 of the Europa League and the top four of La Liga.
Xavi and his players will be aiming to continue that run next time out against Athletic but will know they have a tough test. The Basque side knocked Barca out of the Copa del Rey in January and held the Catalans to a 1-1 draw in La Liga in the reverse fixture back in August.