MADRID, Spain, Jun 19 – Barcelona star Gerard Pique has landed himself in hot water with the club’s managers over his involvement in a documentary which saw Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann announce his decision to snub the Catalan giants.
Pique owns the production company that filmed “The Decision” in which the French striker mulls a possible move to Barcelona before finally revealing his decision to sign a contract extension with Atletico through to 2023 instead.
The documentary aired on Thursday on a Spanish pay TV channel and Griezmann, 27, on Monday signed the deal, which will reportedly see his salary rise to 20 million euros a year, making him the best paid player in the club’s history.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has spoken to Pique and informed him that his role in making the video had “generated surprise and discomfort within the club and among many of its supporters”, Barcelona vice president Jordi Mestre told a news conference on Tuesday to present former player Eric Abidal as the team’s new sports director.
“We will speak internally with Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti after they return from the World Cup,” he added.
Umtiti apparently irked Barcelona’s management as well because he replied to a Twitter message sent by Pique promoting the documentary by writing: “I just need the popcorn”.
“At Barca we want players who are committed and determined to win here, above all. That said, we are sorry and we regret that the fans could have felt disappointed” by Griezmann’s final decision and the way it was delivered, said Mestre.
Pique has defended himself, saying he was not aware whether or not Griezmann was going to stay with Atletico when he got on board with the TV show and that the French player was unsure of what path to take until the last minute.
He wrote on Twitter that the documentary was “another way to see the life of a football player and his doubts over the most important decision of his career”.