Gerard Pique has slammed Barcelona for the way they nearly let Lionel Messi leave this summer amid a social media scandal which has seen the LaLiga club allegedly attack its own players.
The club has been rocked by reports of the I3 Ventures scandal, which has allegedly seen Barcelona chief Jaume Masferrer lead a social media project alongside the LaLiga club to damage the reputations of figures such as Pique, Messi and the Argentinian star’s wife.
Pique revealed he confronted Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu about the scandal, but is still shocked to see figures such as Masferrer still working at the club.
Gerard Pique (left) slammed Barcelona’s treatment of Lionel Messi amid a social media saga
Reports alleged Barcelona have led an online campaign to hurt Messi and Pique’s reputations
Pique told La Vanguardia, as quoted by Marca: ‘I don’t want to get on badly with anyone but there have been moments (such as) the issue with social media.
‘As a Barca player, I see that my club has spent money, money that they are now asking us to criticize. It’s no longer only external people with a historical relationship with the club, but active players too, and that is outrageous.
‘I asked him for explanations and what he (Bartomeu) told me was: “Gerard, I didn’t know.” And I believed it.
Pique said he confronted Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu (above) about the saga
‘Then you see that, in future actions, the person in charge of hiring these services is still working at the club.’
It has been a challenging few months for Barcelona, who saw talisman Messi shock the world by handing in a transfer request to the LaLiga club via burofax in August.
The Barcelona captain cited poor leadership from the Barcelona board as one of many reasons why he wanted to leave the Nou Camp.
Pique (left) also claimed he helped convince captain Messi (right) to stay at Barcelona
The Barcelona captain (above) stunned the world by putting in a transfer request this summer
While the Argentinian forward ultimately decided to stay at Barcelona, Spanish defender Pique – who came through the club’s La Masia academy alongside Messi – revealed he had a conversation with the 33-year-old about his future.
Pique added: ‘As president I would have acted differently. I asked Leo to stay on.
‘I didn’t have much dealings with him those days because I thought it was a very personal decision. I only said: “Leo, it’s a year, and then new people will come.”
‘I asked myself: “How can it be that the best player in history, who we have had the incredible luck to enjoy, gets up one day and sends a burofax because he feels that they are not listening to him?” Everything is too shocking. What’s going on?
‘Leo deserves everything. The new stadium and its sponsor should have his name (on it).’
Pique (left) slammed Barcelona’s treatment of Messi (middle) during the tumultuous summer
In an interview with Goal in September, Messi publicly…