The now retired Gerard Pique has given his first interview since leaving Barcelona and leaving football.
Of course, his manner of exiting was the source of much interest. Against Osasuna, Pique saw a red card for protesting the referee’s decisions in the first half, he was seen coming onto the pitch from the bench to speak to Jesus Gil Manzano.
In Manzano’s report, he claimed that Pique called him a disgrace and several other things, leading him to send the 35-year-old off.
Speaking on Twitch, Pique disputed that version of events.
“I’ve been doing interviews since I was 17 years old. Now I’m free, you no longer have to be pigeonholed and answer what you have to. I didn’t s*** on anyone’s mother yesterday. I’ll explain how it was and I understand that it’s current. At half time, after the referee that harmed us. Robert’s first yellow is not a yellow, there is no corner, then the foul on Marcos Alonso… it’s not that they are dubious plays. The corner, the ball does not pass near anyone…”
“He approached me later to talk to the referee. I went to comment on several plays and you can see it in the video. We go into the tunnel and I told him that he always harms us. With that alone he sends me off. I’m surprised he sent me off for that. At the smallest thing, they send you off, you can’t say anything. In the Premier League, they allow you to talk to them. I, already sent off, go into the locker room with more teammates who came from playing. There is one inside who says ‘F*** the hell out of me….’ The referee listens to him from his locker room and puts the words in my mouth.”
According to Pique, Manzano edited the report to make Pique sound worse.
“What it says in the report is once I’ve already been sent off, they don’t send me off for that. They only send me off for saying ‘You’re the same as always’. He did it because they want to suspend me for six or eight games, even though I’m retired.”
In general, Pique feels the culture of refereeing in Spain is overzealous.
“The cameras film everything I’m saying to the referee. The referees lack empathy. In England you can talk to the referees. He ignores me and sends me off because I tell him: ‘You’re always the same’.”
Regardless of what happened against Osasuna – as Pique points out, there will be little in the way of consequences for him on the field – La Liga refereeing is coming under scrutiny. Spanish football has seen up to 50% more in the way of red cards more than other major leagues this season.