Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique has left Gerard Pique out of his squad for “technical reasons” ahead of this evening’s La Liga fixture against Celta Vigo.
The Spain international has been strongly linked with a move away from the Camp Nou - with Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City all reportedly interested - and this latest development will do little to quash the intense speculation surrounding his future.
Pique has been particularly poor this season, and was arguably Barcelona’s worst player during last weekend’s Clasico against Real Madrid. The 27-year-old conceded the penalty which led to Cristiano Ronaldo’s equaliser with a bizarre handball, as Real Madrid went on to record a comfortable 3-1 win.
Enrique prefers Mascherano/Mathieu
Enrique has left Pique out of his starting line-up on several occasions this season, preferring a centre-back partnership comprised of Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu instead.
But the Barca boss’s decision to leave him out of the entire squad is bound to set tongues wagging both in Spain and England.
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Pique filmed using mobile on bench
Something else that may have played a part in Enrique’s decision to drop Pique might have been the fact he was filmed using his mobile phone - view the footage HERE - while sitting on the bench during Wednesday night’s Supercopa de Catalunya clash with Espanyol.
Sitting next to summer signing Luis Suarez, Pique - who earns around £110,000-a-week - could be seen discretely using his phone after being substituted at half-time.
Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Pique is currently in the lowest moment of his Barcelona career - and moments like these will add weight to reports that the centre-back could leave Spain for a top Premier League club in the New Year.