Gerard Pique had an eventful return to Barcelona action on Tuesday after injury. The center-back made his first appearance since November, saw his team concede four goals at home to Paris Saint-Germain and was involved in an angry exchange with team-mate Antoine Griezmann.
The television cameras also picked up another incident involving Pique during the Champions League encounter. The 34-year-old intervened in a confrontation between PSG striker Kylian Mbappe and Barca left-back Jordi Alba.
Catalan newspaper Diario Sport report the incident started when Alba leapt to the defense of team-mate Sergino Dest after he had tangled with Mbappe. Dest apologized for a previous foul on the striker and was told, “don’t touch me.” Alba then intervened which led to the following exchange:
Alba to Mbappe yesterday: "You're getting too big for yourself."
Mbappe to Alba: "If I find you on the street I'll kill you."
Alba: "This kid is learning. He is learning."
Pique to Mbappe: "Who will you kill?"
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 17, 2021
The night certainly belonged to Mbappe when it came to the actual football. The World Cup winner bagged a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory for the visitors that puts the French champions in complete control of the tie ahead of the return leg in Paris.
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Barcelona Boss Discusses Future
There’s no doubt Tuesday’s defeat is another painful defeat for Barcelona that leaves them on the brink of being knocked out of the tournament. The result will also put fresh scrutiny on coach Ronald Koeman’s position at the club.
The Dutchman only took charge in the summer but looks set to preside over another trophyless campaign. Barca are eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid in La Liga, who also have a game in hand, and are 2-0 down to Sevilla after the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.
Koeman was asked about his future after the tie but insisted he was not thinking about leaving his role, as reported by ESPN’s Sam Marsden.
If I was someone who gets happy when we win and then after a result like today said I had no desire to continue, that would be crazy. I know where I am and what we have to change. We’re trying. We’re not at the end of the path yet, we’re halfway down it.
Barca’s defeat to PSG follows on from heavy defeats in Europe’s top competition in previous seasons. The Catalan giants were beaten 8-2 by Bayern last summer and previously threw away comfortable first-leg leads against Roma and Liverpool.
Koeman’s side are not out of the tie yet and still have the second leg to come but will need to produce one of the greatest comebacks the competition has ever seen to progress after losing 4-1 in the first leg.
The Dutch boss has already admitted he thinks his team’s hopes of qualification are over. He explained, “I could lie but at 4-1 there’s hardly any chance of going through.”
Barca also have a packed fixture list before the team play again at the Parc des Princes on March 10. The Catalan giants take on Cadiz, Elche, Sevilla, and Osasuna in La Liga and also play the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final before their trip to the French capital.