Barcelona’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid at the Camp Nou has left them with an uphill battle in Wednesday evening’s return clash in the Spanish capital.
Real, winners of La Liga and the Champions League last term, sent out a message to their rivals from Catalonia with a clinical display in Barça’s first competitive game since Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain.
While the Brazilian was celebrating his terrific debut against Guingamp, his former teammates were busy struggling in his absence.
Any team that includes Lionel Messi stands a chance of overhauling a 3-1 deficit, and Barça will take confidence in the fact that, unlike on Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo won’t be coming off the bench to score.
The Portuguese’s five-match ban for being sent off and pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea has been upheld, much to the frustration of Los Blancos.
Still, Zinedine Zidane will expect his side to finish the job at the Bernabeu.
It was Gerard Pique’s own goal that handed Real the lead on Sunday and the Spanish defender didn’t receive the greatest of welcomes when Barcelona touched down in Madrid.
What Real fans shouted at Pique
According to AS, Pique was greeted with shouts of “Se queda” from Real supporters waiting outside Barcelona’s team hotel.
“Se queda”, which translates as “he’s staying” is the message Pique delivered on social media in late July which seemed to suggest Neymar would not be leaving the Camp Nou for PSG.
PSG fans have also mocked the defender by wearing replica shirts with “Se queda” printed on the back.
Pique has backtracked on the tweet
Pique has since backtracked on the tweet, claiming he knew Neymar was bound for Paris even when he posted it.
"At [Lionel] Messi's wedding [at the end of June], I had an idea that he might leave. In pre-season, again, he said he would leave," Pique said, per Sky Sports.
"When I wrote the 'he's staying' tweet, I knew 100 per cent that he was leaving.
"I know that he has his reasons, they could be financial, or it could be to be the best player in the world.”
Pique: “I don’t regret the 'he's staying' tweet”
"He hasn't disappointed me, and I don't regret the 'he's staying' tweet. Everything has a reason, and I wanted to use social media because that's an instrument I have.
"I wanted to help the club, and at least I tried, even though I knew he had made his decision."
Pique will be hearing those two words a lot this evening.
What's your prediction for this evening's game? Let us know in the comments section below!
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