Gerard Pique has risked splitting the Barcelona dressing room by breaking ranks to sign a contract extension.
The club stalwart had appeared likely to be deemed surplus to requirements by new head coach Ronald Koeman and even suggested he’d be willing to leave the club in the wake of last season’s humiliating Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich.
Koeman, however, has placed his faith in the experienced centre-half who has started all five games so far this season, including Tuesday’s Champions League win over Ferencvaros during which he was sent-off midway through the second half.
But while Pique’s stock with his new manager might be on the rise, according to Sport, his teammates are likely to take a dim view of his decision to pen a new deal while they remain in conflict with the club’s over their attempts to decrease an astronomical wage bill.
Under-fire president Josep Bartomeu made headway in terms of getting some of the club’s highest earners off the books during the summer when he sanctioned the departures of Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic.
Bartomeu is not done there, however, and is attempting to renegotiate a number of contracts but the lack of trust that exists between the first team squad and the board is proving a significant hindrance.
A letter was reportedly sent to the board signed by the players, including Pique, outlining their refusal to discuss potential pay cuts which the club’s hierarchy deemed necessary to cope with the financial ramifications of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Despite putting his name to a burofax, however, Pique was one of four players along with Clement Lenglet, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Frenkie de Jong, to sign new contract this week with confirmation arriving after the midweek European win.
It has been a tumultuous summer for Barcelona who managed to retain the services of Lionel Messi despite their talisman handing in an official transfer request.
Koeman has steadied the ship and is said to have impressed his players, but with El Clasico on the horizon this weekend he can ill-afford for dressing room tensions to undermine the progress he appears to be making.