Gerard Pique’s celebration against Espanyol, where he gestured silence to the club’s fans by holding a finger to his lips, has been defended by Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez.
Pique headed a late equaliser in the 1-1 LaLiga draw on Sunday and continued his feud with Barca’s Catalan rivals with his reaction to the goal.
Espanyol asked the Royal Spanish Football Federation to investigate comments made by the defender in the aftermath of last month’s Copa del Rey quarter-final, when he referred to them as “Espanyol de Cornella” rather than their full title of Espanyol de Barcelona.
Pique indicated his celebration was in response to alleged insults from the stands aimed at his family, and Suarez backed up his colleague’s actions.
“Everyone has their way of venting, of letting out things that are inside,” Suarez told La Vanguardia. “Geri has endured many things.
“The players always have to put up with what they [supporters] say to us, but you have to agree with [Pique] because that was the least he could do after they mentioned his wife and child, that was the most serious thing.
“I live with him, I know the love he has for his wife and children. You can mess with the player but to bring in the children… to anyone who is a father, that hurts. His reaction is understandable because he did not make any other gesture.
“It is something quick, a thousandth of a second in which you get that reaction inside, but you do not have to make this issue bigger.
“I am of the theory that if an opponent insults me, he tells me that I am bad, he tells me everything or he messes with my sister, I will never go to the press and say it. I handle everything. It does not bother me, nor does it hurt. It is part of the game.”
— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) February 4, 2018
Suarez had a slow start to the season but has been on fire of late, scoring 13 times in his last 12 appearances in all competitions.
The striker’s goals have helped Barca build a nine-point lead at the top of LaLiga despite the world-record sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain last August, but the Uruguayan suggested a knee problem was the reason for his previous lack of form.
“I worried a lot, and more than the goals, because those are streaks that I have already gone through, I felt bad in my knee and I was afraid it would affect me psychologically,” Suarez said.
“It was not the same, the intensity was not there… I suffered because of the pain, although I said it did not hurt, rest was very important to recover.
“[The start of the season] was hard and complicated, we lost in the Supercopa de Espana against [Real] Madrid and Ney left, it was a psychological blow for the dressing room, but later we made our way and we knew how to cope.
“Tactically we have changed. Previously we got caught on the counter-attack, we had a problem there, but we have resolved that by reinforcing the midfield, going up the wings a lot and having Leo [Lionel Messi], the best in the world. Neymar contributed a lot but other team-mates have compensated.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 8, 2018
Philippe Coutinho arrived in a club-record deal last month to help fill the void left by Neymar’s exit, but Suarez denied he was influential in persuading his former Liverpool team-mate to make the move to Camp Nou.
“Not at all. That responsibility is for the club,” Suarez said when asked about his role in the transfer. “Yes, I talked to him, he’s a friend and if I can help him, I’ll do it.
“He’s young, I had a good relationship with him since we met at Liverpool and we’ve been keeping it since I left. People always arrive a little nervous at Barca and I wanted to help. He has started very well.”
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