It hasn’t been the best year for FC Barcelona. For it, that means winning four trophies instead of five, as Real Madrid seems destined to take the La Liga title. Bigger problems seem to be brewing as one of the most harmonious teams in European soccer seems to be facing its own off-the-field issues.
Head coach Pep Guardiola is currently playing chicken with Barcelona about signing an extension with the Catalan team, claiming his wife does not want him spending so much time away from home. Reports from local Spanish papers, however, paint a different picture.
A new report states that Guardiola will only re-sign with Barcelona if it gets rid of star defender, Gerard Pique. It seems Guardiola is not a fan of Barcelona’s newest rising star, and one of the main reasons seems to be that his superstar girlfriend, Shakira, is too big a distraction for the player.
It’s hard to blame Pique. Shakira would be a big distraction for anyone, and any time two super stars come together, it’s bound to become a top story (just ask David and Victoria Beckham, another soccer-pop duo).
However, club officials don’t seem too eager to get rid of their newest defensive star, as club captain Carles Puyol seems to nearing the end of his career. If forced to choose between Guardiola and Pique, the team is likely to choose Pique, especially with a line of premier coaches ready to take Guardiola’s place.
The troubles began in the summer, when Pique posted pictures vacationing with Shakira. In the pictures he was white-water rafting; an activity not allowed by the team. He had been late to training as recently as October and has consistently broken team rules.
The player, being groomed as the next captain of the Catalan team, has been left out of key games, including a recent UEFA Champions League clash, which will likely serve as a wake-up call for the defender.
Guardiola, on his end, may just be trying to leak stories that would make his leaving the team a bit more understandable, but his temper has already seen Barcelona cast off key players like Samuel Eto’o, giving the story a bit of credibility.
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Photo via Flickr/Mauricio Moreno Valdes