‘Neymar didn’t need to show off’

Gerard Pique believes Neymar “didn’t need to put on such a show” during Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on Saturday.

The No 11 was forced to defend his playing style in the wake of La Blaugrana’s cup triumph after Los Leones deemed his flick over Unai Bustinza unsporting, and the defender admits his teammate could have done without risking their opponents’ wrath.

“We’ll enjoy [winning the Copa] tonight and tomorrow and then prepare for the Champions League final, which is most important and prestigious final,” he said after the game.

“[Winning the Champions League] would be perfection, but it’d still be a great season with just the double.

“We prepared for the game well. Our opponents were Athletic, who we have a lot of history with.

“Perhaps we have stronger rivals in Spain, but we prepared [to play Athletic] like we do for [Real] Madrid and Atletico. They tightened up a lot.

“I’ve spent many years experiencing [Lionel Messi] and enjoying him. [His first goal] was a golazo!

“[On Neymar’s perceived showboating], I don’t consider it to be an important issue.

“He has a bit of everything. At best, perhaps he didn’t need to put on such a show.”

Tags Lionel Messi Neymar