Pique: Guardiola tension over Shakira relationship

Gerard Pique said his relationship with former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola changed after he started dating the Colombian singer Shakira.

Pique re-joined Barca from Manchester United in 2008 and was part of the team that won three LaLiga titles and had two Champions League successes in the next four years under Guardiola.

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However, by the final year of Guardiola’s time on the Camp Nou bench, Pique said several factors had taken their toll on the relationship between the manager and his players.

“We reached a moment of tension with him, not just me but the dressing room in general,” Pique told La Sotana on Monday.

“The rivalry with Jose Mourinho [at Real Madrid] wore us down a lot. Pep wanted absolute control over everything that was happening.

“I started dating Shakira and our relationship changed. Now, the relationship is perfect. But there was a lot of pressure on me then. I felt like I had to do everything in training perfectly.

“If there was a moment I thought about leaving Barca, it was that [2011-12] season. I struggled in that last season with Guardiola.”

A decade on, Pique remains at Barcelona having seen the club’s rise to European champions and the fall in recent years.

On the pitch, Barca have won just one Copa del Rey trophy in the last two seasons, while the club’s financial problems off the pitch led to the exit of Lionel Messi this summer.

President Joan Laporta inherited the club with gross debt standing at €1.35 billion and the wage bill accounting for 110% of revenue — following a summer of cutbacks, including Messi and Antoine Griezmann‘s exits, that figure is now 80%.

Previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu was in charge as Barca’s finances deteriorated and Pique, who has previously spoken of his own desire to run the club one day, says he didn’t do a good job.

“I can’t say if he is the worst president [ever],” Pique added. “But from what I have experienced, he must be [up] there. We are all guilty, but it is true that the club have not gone where all the Catalans want it to be.

“Now I am hopeful and excited again, though. The next five or 10 years will be very good for Barcelona.”