‘I think he will stay’ – Pique does not believe Xavi will leave Barcelona

 
Head Coach Xavi Hernandez of FC Barcelona looks on during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on January 27, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain.

In a recent interview with The Times, Gerard Pique has made a few eyebrow-raising comments, particularly heating up the Barcelona vs Real Madrid discussion.

More importantly, Pique has openly stated that Xavi’s decision to leave Barcelona at the end of the season was not correct and that he expects the Spaniard to stay at Barcelona beyond the summer.

“I don’t think Xavi’s decision is 100% correct. Let’s see, I think he will stay,” Pique said. “I don’t talk to Xavi every day, but we talked a few times, I want the best for him because it will be the best for the club.”

As for the Barcelona vs Real Madrid debate, Pique added that the way Barça play football is an example to every club.

“The way Barça play football is an example to the world because when we win we win in a way that people enjoy watching. That’s something Madrid will never have,” he said.

The retired Barcelona defender raised a few more eyebrows by pointing out corruption in Spanish football, with the capital clubs always getting the better of things.

“In Spain, everything comes from the capital, the newspapers and everything. They love Madrid, then Barcelona. Sometimes you feel like you are not part of this country. It’s about what Barcelona represents. This is something Real Madrid would like to have but they can’t,” he said.

In the past, Pique has faced backlash and hate for his Catalonian roots, even when playing for the Spanish national team. Pique, though, had always disregarded the boos.

“I loved it. When I was with the national team and the fans booed me, I loved it,” Pique said.

The defender then went on to talk about some of the youngsters at Barcelona, including Pau Cubarsi and Lamine Yamal.

Pique heaped praise on Yamal, in particular, stating, “Face to face, I don’t think there’s a player in the world who can do what he does.” As for Cubarsi, the former defender acknowledged that he is a ‘very talented player’.

Talking about his own career, Pique revealed that he had plans to retire at 30. But he continued to play just for Barça.

“I thought I would retire early. I said I would retire at 30. There was a moment when I was only playing because it was Barcelona,” he said.

Gerard Pique eventually announced his retirement in November 2022, at the age of 35. His retirement came on the back of his waning importance in the first team under Xavi Hernandez.

To that end, Pique did list out his preferred replacement candidates for Xavi, notably mentioning Man City coach Pep Guardiola and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

“The obvious ones are Guardiola, because he had his past here, and he is the best coach right now, and Arteta. He would be a good one also. He understands Barcelona and played for Barça in the past,” he concluded.

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