Pique calls for Barcelona focus amid social media controversy

By Sports Desk February 24, 2020

Gerard Pique told Barcelona to remain undistracted ahead of facing Napoli amid the social media controversy at the club.

Barca earlier this month denied allegations made by Spanish radio network Cadena SER that they hired a company to damage the image of people associated with the club by spreading negative messages on social media platforms.

But Pique is keen to ensure his team are focused ahead of the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in Naples.

"We just try to be focused on our task as for this club in the last few years it has been massive what happens on the pitch," he told a news conference.

"Just the results have been holding back the entire club, so we know how important it is [to get results].

"The responsibility we have as Barcelona players to try to keep winning on the pitch. If not, there will be troubled water."

Despite the off-field controversy, Barca are two points clear atop LaLiga and go into their tie with Napoli as favourites.

But Pique warned his team the Serie A giants would lift for the last-16 tie.

"It is the first time Barca comes to Napoli to play at such a historic stadium. A football player always want to live new experiences, so coming here is one of them," he said.

"Regarding Napoli, they have improved a lot lately. They did not start well this season but have improved a lot lately. It will be a very difficult one.

"They have beaten Juventus and they beat Liverpool at the group stage. They raise their level against the big teams, so we will have to be very concentrated in order not to get badly surprised."

Related items

  • Werner 'won't get any cheaper' amid Liverpool links, says RB Leipzig chief Werner 'won't get any cheaper' amid Liverpool links, says RB Leipzig chief

    RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff insisted Timo Werner "won't get any cheaper" amid reports linking the forward with Liverpool.

    Werner, 24, is reportedly a target for the Premier League leaders after scoring 30 goals in 39 games in all competitions this season.

    According to reports, the Germany international has a release clause of around £49.4million (€55m) that must be triggered by June 15, but Liverpool are said to be unwilling to meet that price.

    Mintzlaff, however, said there was no way Werner, who is contracted at the Bundesliga club until 2023, would be any cheaper.

    "It won't get any cheaper. We will not sell a player below value if he is under contract for more than a year," he told Sport Bild.

    "In general, we always have to ask the following question – can we replace a player if we sell him for less than his market value?

    "But, I only think about those things once I have the facts on the table."

  • LaLiga would have ended if Real Madrid were top, says former Barcelona president LaLiga would have ended if Real Madrid were top, says former Barcelona president

    Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart claimed LaLiga would have been cancelled if Real Madrid were top of the table when the season was suspended.

    The LaLiga campaign is set to get back underway next month, with Barcelona holding a two-point lead over Madrid with 11 games left to play.

    But Gaspart, who was Barca president from 2000 to 2003, said it would have been different if Madrid were leading the league when it was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    "If Madrid had finished as leader before the confinement, LaLiga would have ended," he told Tertulia del 10 del Barca, via AS, on Wednesday.

    While Barcelona will aim to clinch the LaLiga title, they continue to be linked with former star Neymar, who could return to the club from Paris Saint-Germain.

    Gaspart hopes the Brazil international ends up back at Camp Nou, where he left in 2017 for a world-record €222million.

    "I would love to see Neymar at Barca. I understand that he can still contribute," he said.

    "What I don't know is the fine print. I forgive what it takes to get him back. I would like him to play for Barca."

  • Juventus signing Kulusevski hoping to emulate De Bruyne Juventus signing Kulusevski hoping to emulate De Bruyne

    Juventus signing Dejan Kulusevski hopes he can become as good as Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne.

    Kulusevski, 20, was bought by Juve for €35million in January before being sent back to Parma on loan for the remainder of the season.

    The Swedish attacker said he had watched De Bruyne closely and is hoping he can emulate the Belgium star.

    "He is one of the top five players in the world," Kulusevski told Sky Sport on Wednesday.

    "I study a lot because he is a phenomenal player and because I want to become like [him], but also stronger.

    "Among my habits is to watch many games, because I learn a lot from my colleagues."

    Kulusevski was also linked with a move to Inter before deciding to sign with Juventus.

    The former Atalanta man said Juve coach Maurizio Sarri was one of the key reasons he chose the Serie A champions.

    "One of the reasons why I chose the Bianconeri was Sarri," Kulusevski said.

    "I think I can do very well and learn a lot with him. I watched all his Chelsea games."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.