The 32-year-old’s investment company has committed to revamping the event over the next 25 years, and critics have suggested that the Spaniard’s involvement with it have caused him to become distracted, leading to a bed spell of form for the centre-back over recent matches.
However, at the Catalan Football Federation awards gala, ?Pique defended himself as he picked up the award for best player of the year, claiming that his priorities still lie firmly with football.
“I didn’t think I could make it, I thought I wouldn’t arrive, so sorry for how I’m dressed. The truth is that Riqui Puig has outdone me today.” he said during the ceremony, as quoted by Spanish newspaper ?Sport. “I’m proud of getting the award and I thank the team-mates, the club, without them I would not be what I am and I hope that it’s a successful year.
“My priority is football, football, football. Are the directors of the newspapers here? Because lately the truth is that they love me a lot. It seems I can be distracted by the Davis Cup but this prize is for all the work from last year and this year will be the same.
“Things can go better or worse, but I think that I have shown that the love for the shirt is sacred and will be until the day I retire. If we win lots of titles, I’m sure that those who write will stop saying we’re distracted.”
Pique remains a crucial part of Ernesto Valverde’s plans in the first team, despite being in the latter stages of his career, starting 13 out of a possible 14 La Liga games this season.
However, during ?Barcelona’s 1-0 win over ?Atletico Madrid at the weekend, the Spaniard was replaced by Samuel Umtiti in the late stages of the game, as ?Lionel Messi went on to score the winning goal for La Blaugrana.