Pique, wound up after Arbeloa described him as being “obsessed with Real Madrid”, referred to his Spain international colleague by his derogatory nickname: ‘The Cone’ - as in a training ground cone.
Arbeloa had stayed silent but couldn’t resist speaking out in an interview with lagerna.com this week, accusing the world-class centre-back of showing a lack of respect with his comments.
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"I could tell the world why I'm not Piqué's friend,” Arbeloa was quoted as saying by Marca. “That said, I'm not sure if he'd come off well. I know his family and I respect them despite his lack of respect for mine.
"Our families are what's important. We hear lots of nonsense. To a greater or lesser degree, you ignore it. However, those closest to you suffer. With that in mind, I preferred not to answer him. If he'd attacked Real Madrid again, I'd have snapped, because I'll always defend them, no matter what. Attacking me is different. It's just the way I am. Not answering is better than saying some of the things I could say.”
Pique's controversial tweet started this row
Indeed, the reason Arbeloa described Pique as obsessed with Real Madrid in the first place was because of his controversial tweet after it emerged that Los Blancos had fielded the ineligible Denis Cheryshev against Cadiz in the Copa del Rey.
Real Madrid’s oversight left them at risk of being kicked out of the tournament - this would eventually happen - and Pique summed up the feelings of Barcelona fans everywhere by posting a tweet which contained no words, just nine ‘crying-with-laughter’ emojis.
After Arbeloa said Pique was obsessed with Real Madrid, and belonged in a “comedy club”, the Barcelona star told reporters: "Arbeloa 'the cone' goes around claiming he's a friend of mine, but he's nothing more than an acquaintance.”
Arbeloa defends Cristiano Ronaldo
Also in the interview with lagerna.com this week, Arbeloa defended his star teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been jeered by some Real Madrid supporters in recent weeks.
"The good thing about Real Madrid is that they don't really need the money, which means you don't have to sell a world-class player like Cristiano,” he added. “The way that he looks after himself, plus his professional attitude and physical fitness, means that he has plenty of football left in him. On top of that, he keeps gaining experience. He's a leader.”
Real Madrid focused on Champions League
Real Madrid currently occupy third place in La Liga, but their main focus is now on the Champions League with Barcelona eight points clear at the top of the table.
Los Blancos won the European Cup for the tenth time in 2014, beating local rivals Atletico 4-1 after extra-time in Lisbon.
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