Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has spoken up on the involvement of Gerard Pique in the controversy surrounding the RFEF and the Spanish Super Cup.
Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s crucial La Liga encounter against Real Sociedad, manager Xavi Hernandez took the opportunity to address the recent controversy that senior defender Gerard Pique has found himself embroiled in.
Earlier this week, Spanish publication El Confidencial revealed leaked documents and audio recordings that seemed to insinuate that Pique had colluded with Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales in a corruption scandal surrounding the moving of the annual Spanish Super Cup tournament to Saudi Arabia.
The leaks made it evident that Pique pocketed a significant commission through one of the companies he owns, Kosmos, as part of the deal to restructure the Super Cup tournament and move it to the Middle East starting in 2020. Rubiales, too, has enjoyed financial benefits from the deal, which has kicked up quite the storm in the Spanish footballing scenes.
However, Pique came out on Tuesday on his Twitch channel and denied any wrongdoing with regard to the deal. The RFEF also put out a statement claiming that they have been well aware of the details revealed by El Confidencial since the time of the agreement with Saudi Arabia being struck.
Xavi: "Piqué's controversy? Piqué is always an open person, always a headline. He is someone who is committed to the team, very focused and motivating – both on and off the pitch. We missed him recently." pic.twitter.com/muqAFGDJVe
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) April 20, 2022
Xavi Hernandez, too, has spoken up about the controversy saying (h/t Goal), “It’s very difficult, my opinion doesn’t change anything. There are two people involved. I know Rubiales well, he’s a noble guy. I trust his honesty. He must explain himself, and [so must] Pique. I think they looked for the good of the great majority. I want to think that. If it is ethical or not? There are opinions of all kinds.”
With Pique set to return from an injury and likely to start for Barcelona against Real Sociedad, Xavi was quizzed if all this negative publicity would be a distraction. In reply the Barcelona manager said that the veteran defender thrives on being criticised and will use it as a ‘fuel’ to perform better.
“He is outgoing and likes to be on people’s lips. I am more diplomatic. I know him. If he wasn’t focused, I would warn him, but it (attention) gives him fuel. It’s adrenaline for him. It’s like a drug, in a good sense of the word. He’s focused,” Xavi said.
“Pique’s Twitch didn’t bother me, it [would] bother me if he didn’t give it his all or didn’t follow the rules. It’s Gerard and I know him. I know how to manage him and he needs it. He’s doing well to compete, he needs this stimulus,” he further added.
After back-to-back defeats to Eintracht Frankfurt and Cadiz, the trip to Real Sociedad becomes extremely vital for Barcelona. And Xavi will need Pique to be completely focused on the job at hand when the whistle blows at the Reale Arena.