Gerard Pique Interview “They whistle because it’s me and because it causes morbidity”
Q; Why was Barca conceding so many goals in the beginning of the season?
A: We were struggling to gain form [after preseason] and more than anything we had to understand ourselves again. We had some individual errors but more than anything it was a collective problem. The process was tough, but the adjustments have worked.
Q: Do you guys feel superior to rivals?
A: It’s hard to have that sentiment [of superiority] on the pitch because we always look to better ourselves individually to help the team. But there are days where I feel we dominate a game and those days I enjoy the most.
Q: Barca is back to being the reference in football?
A: Maybe.Last season we won the treble again and have had a fantastic decade. One might remember Milan de Sacchi at the end of the 80′s/beginning of the 90′s, and maybe in some time in the future people will remember us. But right now we have to have our feet on the ground and look at where Milan is at now. Al though looking at the success of our playing model and the talent of the team, we could prologue the streak.
Q: Short passes, long passes, counter-attacks, long possessions… How does Luis Enrique’s diverse tactics help the team?
A: Yes he’s definitely contributed his stuff, as well as the new players who have come to the team. And in the back it’s better now because now we don’t feel insecure without the ball. Before we would have so much possession that when we didn’t have the ball it would cost us. We are much more practical now.
Q: It seems that any coach would have it difficult to come and introduce a new system to a group of players that seem that play out of memory
A: Being Barca’s coach definitely has its requirements. And Luis Enrique has proven that he’s qualified for the job from the start. But the players don’t demand anything. The philosophy established by Cruyff, prolonged by Rijkaard and Pep has given us so much success that it’s proven that it is what works at Can-barca. It’s irreplaceable.
Q: You guys won Madrid 0-4, did it annoy you that there was more talk about the goal you didn’t score that the game itself?
A: I’m used to it already. It’s the power of distraction and the continuous effects that they have here by talking about everything except football.
Q: What would have you done if you had scored?
A: Celebrate it! But I didn’t have anything planned like many said I did. I’m a cule and opportunities like that, where you’re winning 0-4 are very minimal and that’s why I wanted to score. But I did the same in the next game vs. Roma! It’s my style of playing, when the result is favorable I like to incorporate myself into the attack.
Q: Throughout the years you don’t lose your soul of a striker?
A: It’s very fun to attack. There are games in which I feel very good and I impose on myself other challenges. But it’s the experience that allows me to know when and how.
Q: But you have time to see the pitch while having the ball?
A: We’ve been playing similarly for years…. More or less you can already know where everybody is at. The key that they teach you in Barca is to play the ball without looking at it. That way you control the game and gain a second with the play.
Q: The type of defender with more control at his feet and able to play the ball, developed in Ajax and maintained by Barca, is in form of extinction?
A: I hope not. Football is evolving and the defender has to evolve with it. The central defender that can only defend is antiquated because more and more we have to be the first ones to attack and generate passes. It’s about conducting the ball until somebody else is available, with that you’re able to provoke the rivals and force them to create spaces. I don’t dribble because it’s not my specialty and it would generate a risk that’s not necessary to the team. Although I do conduct the ball less now because they [rivals] already know me.
Q: They know you well in pitches in Spain where you get whistled at persistently lately. How do you feel in those moments?
A:It’s a situation that I have to live with. I don’t really think about it. People give it too much importance because it is me, it causes morbidity and it’s become a trend now. But in occasions I don’t even notice. Last time when I was with the National Team, I asked Bartra during the break “they didn’t whistle much today no?” and he started to laugh because apparently they had whistled a lot. But it’s because i’m so concentrated with the game that I barely notice anymore.
Q: Does it hurt you when they whistle at you?
A: No because on one hand, only about 100 will whistle and it’ll seem like it’’s everybody who is doing it. And on the other, I know they don’t have valid reasons. They give arguments that aren’t true. ‘Pique does not feel Spanish’ they say. ‘But when have I ever said that?’ ‘Pique went overboard with the Kevin Roldan joke’. But that’s Barca-Madrid and has nothing to do with the national team. Those arguments aren’t valid for me.
Q: And it doesn’t help to calm the masses with what occurred with Arbeloa as well as tweeting the emojis when Madrid lined up Cheryshev for the copa… do you feel you’re a provoker?
A: With the emojis I was watching Leo Harlem en la Sexta and I was laughing a lot [ winks eye, and smiles]. No but seriously, we shouldn’t blow things out of proportion.
Q: Do you think you cause envy because you have it all?
A: No I don’t have it all. And if I did, that’s why people get mad at me? In the United States the more people have the more they’re idolized. I don’t know, i’m super privileged and very happy with both my private and professional life, but that’s reason to cause so much hate?
Q: What else do you need?
A: To win more! I’m 28 years old and I love to win. Two or three years ago I would play because I had to, but now I love football even more. When I was younger I thought I would retire at 30, but now I want to keep playing until i’m 35. And I know ending my career at Barca will be very difficult because as the years pass by, you’re physical qualities weaken. But I have incorporated new habits to my routine that help me improve and enjoy more, like going into the dressing room an hour early instead of rushing before a game…sleeping & eating better those are things that Shaki & the family have helped me with. I have it clear that had I continued with the same habits I did 5/6 years ago I would not be playing in Barca. But that’s because when you’re young you don’t prioritize the important stuff.
Q: At home, is there more talk about mom or dad?
A: About both. But they’re boys and love football, and I love that! Shaki prefers them liking music but with Milan she has it tough because he’s obsessed with football. He knows the results, who scores, and he wants to wear jerseys all the time and that’s all he likes to wear
Q: What does the Club World Cup mean to Barca?
A: A lot! We did not win one until 2009. And by winning it again we would hold our crest [ points to the heart] with pride as the best team in the world.
Q: In that last CWC, Tito Vilanova mentioned that without you, “the invention would fall apart”, Do you feel that important?
A: Barca is a club so grand that nobody is irreplaceable. And that’s considering that we have Messi eh? but at the end of the day the team will always come above anybody. When Leo leaves the team will have horrid years, but Puyi, Xavi, and Victor were also irreplaceable at some point, and the team kept going, and right now we keep doing well managing to win another treble… So while I feel important in the team, I know that if i’m not here, somebody else will come. We try to be as important as we can while playing for Barca but the history of this club is made by many players and will continue to be that way.