Barcelona to rest Pique after latest Real Madrid flashpoint

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique will be rested for the LaLiga trip to Granada having played both Spain's matches against Israel and France.

Published : Apr 01, 2017 18:44 IST

Gerard Pique will be rested for Barcelona's LaLiga trip to Granada on Sunday, as the fallout from his latest comments about Real Madrid continues.

On their official website, Barcelona confirmed Pique was given permission by Luis Enrique to miss Saturday's training session and the head coach later told a news conference he would sit out the match at Los Carmenes.

"We are giving Pique a rest as he is a crucial player and has played a lot of football," he said.

"We should clone Pique, because he gives you a lot on the pitch."

The 30-year-old has made 32 appearances across all competitions for Barca this season and the centre-back completed 90 minutes in each of Spain's matches against Israel and France during the international break.

A heavy international workload will not be a concern for Pique and his club after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, when he will retire from international football.

It could mean fewer flashpoints for the outspoken Pique, who has been previously booed by Spain fans on the back of his support for a vote on Catalan independence.

He reprised a familiar theme of criticising Real Madrid this week, after comments by himself and Blancos captain Sergio Ramos on perceived refereeing injustices dominated the build up to them uniting for international duty.

"I don't like the values Real Madrid transmit, although there are players there I really appreciate and am friends with," Pique said, having taken exception to public prosecutor and former Madrid board member Marta Silva regularly attending matches at the Santiago Bernabeu in light of Lionel Messi and Neymar's ongoing legal cases with the Spanish financial authorities.

Luis Enrique will leave the heated Clasico battleground at the end of the season and looked to make light of the row when asked whether he shared Pique's views on Madrid.

"I'm more radical than Pique it's best if I don't reveal my thoughts," he said. "Interpret that as you want.

"I have nothing to say on the matter. Whatever I say, you will turn around."

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