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SPORTS UPDATE

Pique dares Barca, insists he is still the best

Gerard Pique has promised to put aside his private life to ‘focus solely’ on football after Xavi said he would be a surplus to the requirements at Barcelona next season.

The Spanish international was told he had no future at the club two weeks ago due to his unprofessional conduct off the field and his deteriorating physical condition.

However, Pique has hit back at Barcelona president Joan Laporta for suggesting the club needed to bring in a top-level defender claiming he will be Xavi’s first choice despite the manager’s comments.

However, Pique has hit back at Barcelona president Joan Laporta for suggesting the club needed to bring in a top-level defender

Xavi and Joan Laporta have suggested he will be surplus to requirement next season

Xavi told Pique – who is reportedly among the highest earners at Barcelona – that he was no longer part of his plans and that he could leave the Nou Camp this summer.

Xavi’s primary issues with the player are around his business interests off the field and his ability to cope with the hectic schedule within modern football.

However, Pique has disregarded Xavi’s comments and vowed to work harder to prove the Barcelona manager wrong, according to Sport.

The 35-year-old has also hit out against Laporta for hinting at the arrival of a ‘top-level defender’ by saying they would only be used as a substitute.

He reportedly said: ‘I’ll be a starter. If you have the guts, bring the best central defender in the world, who will come as a substitute.’

The club had hope that Pique would make a dignified exit this summer but it appears he will be looking to stick around for as long as possible.

The veteran central defender is eager to show that even at 35 he is still the best option for Xavi next season.

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