Piqué rolls up his sleeves with Xavi

Gerard Piqué (2-2-1987) has rolled up his sleeves with Xavi. Expert, the central is known to be questioned by some sectors for a couple of years, when he made himself available (“we have hit rock bottom” at the Barça club in case he wanted to make a drastic decision after 2-8 in Lisbon in the summer of 2020. But Piqué did not go anywhere . He played an irregular season with Koeman, with black spots like the injury he suffered in his right knee at the Wanda (he left in tears) and the corresponding reappearance chasing the shadow of Mbappé; and moments of glory, such as his pride in scoring the header goal on the hour against Sevilla to open the door to the Cup final against Sevilla. That day, however, he was injured again in overtime. He barely played the Cup final and was seen to suffer on the pitch.

Because, deep down, that image of suffering is the one that Piqué transmits in part a long time ago. A footballer who has played so much due to his exceptional conditions for so many years, suffers the passage of time and injuries. Less physically exuberant, however, he is left with an above-average intelligence that allows him to know the game, manage his current limitations well and still endure in the elite with good positioning and a neat ball exit.

While waiting for the big battles, it is clear that what cannot be discussed with Piqué is commitment. He already had it last season with Koeman (Nice your hugs on the day of the comeback against Sevilla and in the final in La Cartuja against Athletic) and with Xavi he has reinforced it to the point of improving his numbers. Since the arrival of the Terrassa coach, Piqué has recovered 2.2 more balls per game (from 7.9 to 10.1 since Xavi arrived and lost 0.3 fewer balls per game (from 0.4 to 0.1). Gesture policy has also been important. Knowing how things work at Barça, the center-back was aware upon Xavi’s arrival (“things have gone well here when there have been rules; when not, we haven’t even competed) that he had to control his public appearances, business trips … At least, not to make them excessively public so as not to compromise the coach’s principle of authority. And he has succeeded. Piqué is the undisputed starter since Xavi’s arrival and, at least in statistics, his numbers are improving.

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What does not change is the challenging Piqué. In recent days, his target has been Toni Freixa, with whom he has maintained an interesting dialectic on Twitter on issues as different as Dembélé’s renovation and his lunch menu. In that, Piqué is never going to hide. And he seems involved in work. Your hug to Ter Stegen in Palma is a good gesture.

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