Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has called on his international colleague Gerard Pique to show “respect” as the Barcelona defender continues to court controversy.
Pique has found himself embroiled in a war of words with Real Madrid and Spain fullback Alvaro Arbeloa this weekend.
The row stemmed from Arbeloa claiming Pique is “obsessed with Real Madrid” after the former Manchester United centre-back posted a tweet that appeared to mock Madrid’s expulsion from the Copa del Rey.
Rafael Benitez’s men were ejected from the competition after fielding Denis Cheryshev, suspended from last season, in a game against Cadiz.
Pique offered a cutting response, dismissing Arbeloa as “an acquaintance” and making clear reference to the derogatory term “cono”.
He said: “It was one more tweet. I heard Arbeloa called me a friend. I don’t consider him a friend.”
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has been critical of the in-fighting and Ramos appeared to echo this stance when he spoke after Madrid’s 1-0 Liga defeat at Villarreal on Sunday.
“We have to learn from the great examples such as Raul, [Carles] Puyol and [Iker] Casillas and respect everyone,” he said.
“Pique? Well, it is not the best day to talk about that. He needs to respect our team-mates.
“Lack of respect for one’s peers is an enemy which works against good atmosphere. Pique should have a bit of respect for Real Madrid.”
Ramos added: “I admire Pique. He’s a team-mate from the national team. Saying anything more on this subject would be wrong.”
Pique has been booed by his own supporters during recent Spain matches following his support for the Catalan independence movement.