Gerard Pique has reflected on his gratitude to Lionel Messi as a fan, how the Argentine is when injured and his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or again.
Messi is facing up to eight weeks on the sidelines at Barcelona with a thigh injury and his defensive teammate was asked how his mood is and if his teammates look to give him extra space when injured.
“When you are injured you need your space and in the case of Leo, who has had few injuries before, the main thing is to be calm,” considered Pique to Mundo Deportivo today.
“It is normal, for example, just after leaving the field to go to the bench saying nothing.
“Is there less of a control on diet nowadays? The control is the same. This type of injury, once you break, the risk of relapse is there for months. It all began in Paris.
“The first thing Leo wants to do is return to playing. If you tell him he cannot, it kills him. Everyone has agreed, though, that it was necessary to take the rest.
“Will he return to the same? I’m convinced. Leo has allowed me to experience my best years. I no longer speak as a teammate but as a fan. I think of myself first as a fan of Barca and then a player and he has allowed me to live more than ever before.”
Even with the injury ending his year early, Messi is seen as in contention for a fifth Ballon d’Or in a row, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery.
“Leo can never be ruled out. This is an award in which many people vote. He has won four and he will still have appreciation around the world. If he wins then I will laugh very much.
“Who would I vote for? Because I am a big fan, Leo. I’ve always said this. If we evaluate his year then again it was spectacular.
“I’m not saying Cristiano has not done well nor do I want to detract from Ribery, but Leo…
“Whoever wins the vote will get the award. There is nothing secret to it. He who wins will deserve it and more than for any campaign a newspaper will want to do.”
This term has seen debate continue over Barcelona’s style of play and whether it is a move away from recent tradition.
“In this club, we do not accept one without the other. To win, you have to play well. Just winning does not satisfy everyone.
“If you compare our results with any big club in Europe, we are the best. In these situations, no-one else would talk about the game. We are unique in that.
“Here, yes, we have to take that into account and improve. The more we play, the more we will enjoy.”
Pique is sitting out the international break through injury.
“This type of groin injury requires a rest and I have used the international break to do so. The injury is delicate but it is at an early stage and if I recover during this period then I could return to 100 per cent. There will be no more problems.”