Gerard Pique has been equally outspoken in his defence of Lionel Messi and his criticism of the Barcelona board. The Argentine is now into the final year of his contract at the Camp Nou having been denied a move away from the club in the summer.
Messi’s future was a hot topic of debate over the summer, particularly after he handed in a transfer request following Barcelona’s humiliating defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. After a dispute with Josep Maria Bartomeu’s board, the captain ended up staying.
During his first public interview since his transfer request, Messi claimed that Bartomeu had broken promises he’d made to the forward in the past. Now, the president faces a vote of no confidence at the club.
“Leo deserves everything,” Pique told La Vanguardia. “The new stadium should be named after him. We must preserve our past and present legends and not discredit them.”
Should Barcelona take Pique’s advice and name their redevelopment Camp Nou after Messi, it would be the first time in history the club’s stadium has been named after a person.
Over the course of their past, Barcelona have played at the Velodrome de la Bonanova (1899-1900), the Hotel Casanovas pitch (1901-05), the pitch on Calle Muntaner (1905-09), the Campo de la Calle Industria (1909-22) and Les Corts (1922-57).
Barcelona first started playing at the Camp Nou in 1957, when its capacity was 90,000. Today, it can hold up to 99,354 fans, making it the biggest stadium in Europe.
“We must preserve our past and present legends and not discredit them,” Pique said, dismayed at the fact that club figures like Pep Guardiola, Carles Puyol, Xavi and Victor Valdes weren’t involved at the Camp Nou these days.
“Something’s not right,” Pique continued. “You always have to keep these people around; they are part of the club’s history. They have made it great. They should be here, contributing.”