Gerard Pique is no stranger to success but the 2016-17 season simply hasn’t been his year.
The Spaniard and his beloved Barcelona took the La Liga title race to the final week yet, ultimately, had to settle for second. It brought an end to the Catalans’ incredible spell of six league title wins in just eight years.
Furthermore, it’s fair to say the new champions – Real Madrid, don’t hold Pique too fondly.
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After Los Blancos’ title-clinching victory over Malaga at the weekend, a collection of somewhat derogatory chants were aimed at Pique.
The ex-Manchester United man has risen to public enemy number one for Real fans not just because of his Catalan allegiances but a series of bold statements in the past. He is even jeered when playing for the national team, after all.
On this particular occasion, footage showed Real’s very own Dani Carvajal initiating the chants. Carvajal whipped up the crowds by bellowing: "Pique, a-----e, bow down to the champions."
Let’s hope he doesn’t go into song writing, then again, it certainly gets the point across.
While there was, of course, great reason for Los Blancos to be celebrating, there were questions raised over the appropriateness of this particular incident. After all, does a first title since 2012 warrant the roast of a fellow professional and compatriot?
Well, Pique himself isn’t too bothered. The 30-year-old has always been a rock in defence for Barcelona and he seems as unnerved by the comments as he is by some of the world’s finest strikers.
Speaking at an FC Barcelona Foundation event, Pique spoke of the chant: "It's a known chant [among fans] and I don't consider it an insult.
"It was a moment of euphoria, of celebration... I have played with Carvajal, I play cards with him. I know him well and he's a good guy. He sent a message [after the controversy] and I quickly sent him one back saying there's no problem; no need to apologise. I don't think we need to give it much importance."
It looks like Carvajal has gotten away with it. Pique’s willingness to write off the incident as an anomalous symptom of joy is humbling but, also, perhaps only fair given his own track record.
Regardless, Barcelona and Real Madrid both have crucial games ahead of them in coming weeks.
Pique will be pulling on the famous jersey one last time this season, returning from a stomach virus for the Copa del Rey final. With Alaves proving the opponents, it’s hoped Luis Enrique can bow out in style and apply a palliative to a largely vanilla campaign.
Meanwhile, Real are entering their third Champions League final in just four years.
Pique, though, won’t be tuning in.
The 30-year-old revealed: "I don't think I will be able to watch the game because I am on a course at Harvard in business, media, sports and entertainment.”
As you do.
While on the surface the move might appear means of spiting Real, it seems the Spaniard is otherwise engaged. Forget being bitter about derogatory chants, he’s in pursuit of a qualification from one of the world’s leading universities.
It can only be hoped then that, from at least where Pique is sitting, any such certificate is tantamount to a potential 12th Champions League title for his bitterest of enemies. We’re looking at you Carvajal.
Do you think Real Madrid will claim victory in Cardiff or will Juventus steal it? Have YOUR say in the comment box below
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