Gerard Piqué Is Sickened By Barça’s Treatment Of Lionel Messi

MADRID — Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has torn into the club over its handling of the Lionel Messi contract situation, which resulted in the forward attempting to leave in the close-season.

The criticism comes on the eve of the first Clasico against Real Madrid this season (read here to find out how to watch it for just $5) and two days after the 33-year-old Pique signed a new three-year deal at Barca, with a vote of no confidence against the board also imminent.

Club president Josep Bartomeu was the target of a scathing interview by Messi, who ultimately ended up staying at the Camp Nou, however the relationship between the two seems irreparable, something that has left Pique astounded.

"I ask myself: How can it be that the best-ever player to have played the game, who we have been lucky enough to enjoy, wakes up one day and sends a Burofax (recorded delivery mail) because he feels like he's not being listened to?" Pique told La Vanguardia newspaper.

"It's all too confrontational. What's going on? Messi deserves everything; the new stadium should be named after him first and then the sponsor. We should preserve our figureheads, not underappreciate them. It really gets to me."

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The defender also addressed media reports that Bartomeu knew the club hired a social media agency to criticise the players earlier this year.

Bartomeu has denied the allegations.

"I, as a Barca player, see that my club have spent money, money they're now asking us for (in salary reductions), to criticise us — and I'm not talking about criticising people outside the club, but current players — it's atrocious.

"I asked (Bartomeu) for an explanation and he said 'Gerard, I didn't know about it', and I believed him. 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."

(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli Editing by Toby Davis)

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