Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is set to force a veteran player out of the club this season as the club wishes to avoid a £46million payment.
Xavi and Gerard Pique had a dressing room row with the defender sighting lack of playing time at the club and Barcelona is keen on the defender to terminate his contract.
Pique has been one of the regulars at the club over the past season, he has made 608 appearances for the Catalan club but his game time has been limited under Xavi this season, he has started just one of Barcelona’s games this season and against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League he came in as a substitute.
The signing of Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen during the transfer window has sent Pique down the pecking order with the likes of Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia also enjoying more game time than the veteran defender.
Pique is one of the highest-paid players in the squad despite accepting salary reductions and according to Sport he earns £46million in an annual wage. The 35-year-old has two seasons remaining on his contract, which ends in 2024.
It is said by the same report that Barcelona management wants Pique to stick to his previous promise of agreeing to leave the club once he falls out of the starting line-up. Pique is previously quoted as saying: “I will retire at Barcelona, but never as a substitute.”
Pique said after the embarrassing 8-2 Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich in 2020: “If tomorrow [Ronald] Koeman tells me I have to go, I will leave football. I am not going to play in another team that is not Barcelona.”
Following the 2-0 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League Pique was reportedly overheard complaining to teammates about his lack of playing time, to which the unimpressed response from Xavi was: “And you are gonna play even less now.
Pique is not the only senior player in the squad to have limited game time under Xavi, holding midfielder Sergio Busquets is no longer playing in every game while Jordi Alba has dropped to third-choice left-back, Alba rejected a move to Serie A to join Inter Milan in the transfer deadline while Busquets never entertain an offer from other clubs.