Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has called out Gerard Pique and told him to show more respect after the Barcelona man compared Real’s Alvaro Arbeloa to a cone and insisted they weren’t friends.
Pique’s comments came after Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at Villarreal on Sunday, and Ramos said his Spain team-mate needs to take a leaf out of former stars’ books and keep it professional, via Marca:
To Pique I say that he must show respect for his fellow players. Lack of respect creates a bad atmosphere. In recent years we have had good examples like Puyol, Xavi, Raul and Iker, and we have to stay clear of foolishness. I admire Pique.
This isn’t the first time Pique has had a cheeky dig at Real—and based on his past exploits, it’s unlikely to be the last.
Early in December, when Los Blancos fielded the ineligible Denis Cheryshev against Cadiz in the Copa del Rey, for which they were disqualified from the competition, the Barcelona man appeared to enjoy the farce on Twitter:
He’s also been known to dish out the jibes on the pitch, including after this season’s UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla.
Pique was heard saying “come on lads, let's go celebrate it. Screw Real Madrid; let them see us do a lap of honour," according to Emilio Contreras of Marca.
Rivalry in sport is never a bad thing, although both players and fans alike can occasionally take it too far.
However, former Barcelona star Eric Abidal told TV3 his old team-mate isn’t doing that, as everything he says and does is in jest, via Sport: “I don't know what he said, but everything that comes from Pique is a joke. It should be taken in that manner. I know him personally and I have a lot of respect for Pique, but people just want to talk and don't want to see."
Pique will be hoping to have the last laugh at the end of the 2015/16 campaign, and it looks for all the world as if he’ll get exactly that.
Barcelona went five points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga at the weekend despite dropping points at home to Deportivo La Coruna, which means their rivals can’t catch them while they’re away on Club World Cup duty ahead of the winter break.
We’ll have to wait until April’s Clasico to see whether Pique has taken Ramos’ words on-board, but seeing the Barcelona star rub it in after another victory would be far from a surprise.