Gerard Pique Talks Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos Incident, Clasico Hand Gesture

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2019

Barcelona's Spanish defender Gerard Pique celebrates their win at the end of the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 2, 2019. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Gerard Pique believes Sergio Ramos should have been sent off for catching Lionel Messi in the face with his arm in Barcelona's 1-0 win against Real Madrid on Saturday.

Ramos caught Messi shortly before half-time but escaped the incident without a booking, prompting Pique to make a talking-hand gesture to the crowd as the players walked off at the break:

B/R Football @brfootball

🤫 https://t.co/VcoInNMg6o

Per Sport, Pique said:

"Leo had blood on his lip. It was aggressive [from Ramos] and it seemed a red card to me.

"I was referring to the fact they talk but sometimes referees go in their favour. Pulses are racing at 1,000 miles [per] hour and it was just a general gesture.

"I like it when the atmosphere heats up and [the gesture] was to get it going a little bit more."

Though he evidently relishes the rivalry between Barcelona and Madrid, Pique added he still maintains a positive relationship with Los Blancos' players, having played alongside the likes of Ramos for Spain: "Don't misunderstand the intensity. I get on really well with [Real Madrid's players]. It's mutual. We have a lot of contact with each other, but when we step over the white line, we defend our own team's colours."

Ramos received a yellow card for another foul on Messi in the second half, so he was perhaps fortunate to have remained on the pitch until the end of the match.

ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan did not believe the contact between the two players in the first half was accidental:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Ramos definitely catches Messi in face with forearm as he goes past... unlikely he didn't know what he was doing

Had Ramos been sent off, it would have been the 26th red card of his career.

It was a day to forget for the Spaniard, who saw his team lose for the second time to Barca in three days. The Blaugrana also beat Real 3-0 on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey.

As for Pique, he put in a superb performance to help his side come out on top, as Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe and Grup 14's Rafael Hernandez observed:

Sam Tighe @stighefootball

Lots of good performances from Barcelona to admire there but Gerard Pique was particularly excellent. Positionally brilliant, a monster in the box. That dribble across his own goal line was ludicrous 😂

Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117

Piqué was the man of the match. He truly looked like he was everywhere! Every cross, challenge, clearance and block with the best of his decision making. One of the best performances of his career, incredible.

Thanks in part to his efforts, Barca are now 12 points clear of Real in La Liga—and 10 clear of Atletico Madrid before their trip to Real Sociedad on Sundayand through to the Copa del Rey final, so the club has a good chance of winning a fourth domestic double in the past five seasons.

They won't meet Real again this season unless they are drawn against one another in the UEFA Champions League.

Should that happen, they will need similar showings from Pique and their other key players to maximise their chances of coming out on top.