Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has heaped praise on team-mate Lionel Messi and offered his thoughts on the captain’s future. The Argentine is out of contract at the end of the season and able to walk away for free.
Pique spoke to Movistar about how it was obvious Messi was a special talent when he was still very young and also explained what it was like playing against him as a youngster, as reported by La Vanguardia.
“He was special as a kid. You saw it. The ball stuck to his foot. You couldn’t get it off him,” he explained, They told us not to go in hard on him because he was little, but we couldn’t even if we wanted to. You couldn’t catch him. He had an innate talent.”
The Barca center-back also said he would support Messi in whatever decision he takes regarding his future. The captain’s future is still uncertain and it’s not clear if he will decide to continue his career at the Camp Nou.
“We have been with Messi for many years. We know him very well, and we will support him regardless of his decision. We will support him in his life, and we should be grateful to him,” he added. “I wouldn’t be able to say what will happen. I think in the last few months we’ve seen Leo happy. That’s the most important thing. Leo’s the captain and he has an important impact on all the players. The team is going well and part of that is down to Leo.”
Messi has reportedly instructed his agent and father Jorge Messi to delay contract renewal talks with the club while Barca remains in the hunt for the league title as he wants to focus solely on the team.
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Pique Talks Copa del Rey Win
Pique has missed large chunks of this season with knee trouble but was back in the team for Saturday’s Copa del Rey win over Athletic. The center-back put in a stellar performance for the Catalan giants as Ronald Koeman’s men coasted to a 4-0 victory.
The defender has explained that winning the trophy has given Barcelona a lift but admitted that his team did suffer in previous rounds when they needed to produce epic comebacks against Sevilla and Granada.
“We needed it. We suffered a lot in extra-time of this competition against Granada and Sevilla. And the final was a relief, it turned out very well,” he added. “We started scoring late, but then the goals flowed. It has given us an extra motivation, at Barça you are obliged to always win.”
The focus now switches back to La Liga for Barcelona who will be crowned champions if the team wins its final eight matches. Pique admits that if his Barca does win a league and cup double “it will be a very, very good season.”
Pique To Play Against Getafe?
Barca’s next game is on Thursday against Getafe in La Liga at the Camp Nou, but there’s no guarantee Pique will play the game. Coach Ronald Koeman discussed the defender’s fitness in his pre-match press conference and admitted he was tired after the Copa del Rey win.
“It’s normal that Gerard is quite tired after the match, that’s very normal after a player is out for a while,” he said. “He needs to get back into match rhythm. I thought he was phenomenal. Yesterday he was still a bit tired, today he’s a bit better, tomorrow we’ll see if he’s ready.”
Koeman certainly doesn’t lack for options in defense with Ronald Araujo, Clement Lenglet, Oscar Mingueza, and Samuel Umtiti all fit and available. The Dutchman may also have one eye on Sunday’s match away at in-form Villarreal.