Gerard Piqué: “Clubs don’t let players get out of line” | Sports

Gerard Piqué (Barcelona, ​​36 years old) receives EL PAÍS in Kosmos, the company owned by the former culé player. In his office, adorned by trophies from his career, as well as some singular souvenir or Barça shirts, as well as photos of his children and friends, Piqué talks about the current situation of the club, his life and his business, although he refuses to do so out of hand. his personal life.

Ask. Barça is in a good mess with the Negreira case. Did they receive reports in the locker room?

Answer. Nothing happened to the players. I never asked for anything. Others I know asked for reports from the opponent and perhaps some did from the referees. No idea. At the group level, of course, we received nothing. But this is a subject that gives for conspiracies and newspaper front pages. That’s what the country lives on. I think you have to teach the why of things.

Q. What kind of complicity do you have with Joan Laporta, interested like Madrid and Barça because their interests coincide or sentimental because the club is there?

R. I have always had a very good relationship with Joan, since 2008. We have always told each other everything to our faces. There have been moments of tension as with any long and trusting relationship. We are as usual, although when a player retires there are difficult conversations in which you tell each other things, it’s obvious. He spends with friends, with co-workers, with relatives…

Q. You want to be the president of the club. In your imagination, will it be by vote of the partners or by a board of directors, since it could become SAD?

R. I don’t know. It’s complicated. Barça is a special, different club. We have always been governed by the members, the owners of the club. Let’s hope it stays that way. We are in a difficult situation and the president knows what steps to take. It is not easy because there is a very large investment with the new stadium and a large debt is dragging on from the covid era and before… Laporta’s messages are optimistic. Let’s see what happens.

Q. His company was involved in bringing the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia and this generated quite a bit of noise. Do you regret anything?

R. There was a mess. But when you explain it well it is white and in the bottle. I explained it in 10 minutes. It is one of the best operations in the history of the Federation and I am very proud.

Q. Did losing Davis, which was your leading project, hurt you?

R. Yes, it was hard. But it depends on how you see it. We paid a fees to the ITF, which was going up every year. We projected it to 25 years, that was the agreement and we believed that there would be x income. But the covid passes and breaks it in half. Although the numbers were spectacular in the first year, in 2020 they were not repeated. And in 2021 it was organized, but behind closed doors… And the fees it kept growing. When we told them that we had to renegotiate because it was not at market value and the business was not generating it, the ITF did not agree and they broke the contract. Now we are on trial.

Q. How has your media separation from Shakira affected you?

R. I’m not going to comment, I don’t feel like it. Everyone has their responsibility to try to do what is best for their children.

Q. They are not deaf…

R. It’s about protecting them. That is the job of all parents with children. That is what I am focused on and that is my job as a father.

Q. And how is he as a person? It seemed that everything had always worked out for him.

R. It is not like this. The problem is how people perceive it or how the press sells it. I keep doing what I want. The day I die, I will look back and hope I have always done what I wanted. I want to be true to myself. I’m not going to spend money cleaning up my image. The people I care about and the ones I love are the ones who know me. The rest I don’t care. I spend my energy on being with my loved ones and giving them what I have. I’m very happy. There have been changes in my life and I have known how to preserve happiness.

Gerard Piqué, at the end of his last game as a professional, Barcelona-Almería in November.
Gerard Piqué, at the end of his last game as a professional, Barcelona-Almería in November.David S. Bustamante/Soccrates (EL PAÍS)

Q. He left football in November. Could he have played more?

R. Yes, but I don’t like to squeeze. She had been there for many years and each time it was difficult for me to go depending on which fields. If they put the game on for me at 4:00 p.m. after eating and with the sun… it was hard for me. You have to be honest. I was not excited, I needed new challenges and I saw that in the team it was not as important as before. I didn’t have a good time. I made the right decision.

Q. Don’t you regret it?

R. Not at all. I just miss the competitiveness and those electric environments, the matches at the Bernabéu and Cornellà.

Q. Look how they insulted you, huh?

R. A lot. But it motivated me. I got to a point that to protect myself I went to the field and thought that the followers were actors. In the end it no longer affected me.

Q. If you look back, what do you see?

R. The career I dreamed of. I was the player I wanted to be. I left thinking that he had done it and won everything. He was very pretty.

Q. Did you worry about being entertained after hanging up your boots?

R. A lot. Former teammates like Puyol or Villa told me that the day after I stop playing the question is: “And now, what?” We are lucky to earn a lot of money in a short time, but managing that money and the standard of living you lead is difficult. It’s hard to adapt. I prepared the transition; the kings league [la competición creada por Kosmos en la que participan famosos streamers y que combina fútbol 7 con espectáculo] I had it in mind.

Q. On the 26th the finals of the tournament will be held at the Camp Nou, they have sold 75,000 tickets and have audiences of 2.1 million people. Did you expect this success?

R. I felt that it could be something powerful to put 12 together streamers that they interact with each other with the level of audience they have, adding the football and entertainment component. But perhaps he didn’t think it would be so much or so fast. I believe that it will be able to last over time because it is an exciting product that engages the new generations.

Q. Can it also grow?

R. If we do it right, we have Kings League for a while. The issue is how. In Spain it is well known, but in other markets not so much. We have to see how we expand, to which countries we go. Next year we want to land in Latin America, so that they know the sport, show, entertainment and debate product.

Q. A good concoction…

R. There are people who are very purists about sports, about what happens on the field, about tactics. It’s very good, but we are increasingly going towards entertainment. Football clubs protect the players too much, they don’t let them get out of line and the message is always the same. We, backwards; We are open and the more presence in the networks, the better. Even if that content is not football per se. In football there is a lack of information; The clubs will have to open up, although it will be difficult for them because they want to control what comes out. If they don’t, they will lose fans.

Q. Is the product offered by LaLiga obsolete?

R. No no. The product is football and it is the best you can see in Spain. But if you only talk about the game for 90 minutes, and this is not a criticism, young people don’t want that. They want to live 24 hours around what happens in the game, they want to know everything. It’s like in the transfer market. Although it does not end up happening, the rumor that if he goes, that if a meeting in a restaurant… The expectation is what you want. The League, moreover, no longer fights with the Premier no matter how much it wants to. Yes, it does with the platforms, in how to attract consumers. You know musicians and actors best for their activities and how they show them to the world. The athletes, no; they are more and more locked up and you don’t know them.

Q. Did that thought come to you when you saw that your children did not watch an entire game on television?

R. Since before. As a child I knew the players because there was only the League, which was open. But when I finished my degree, sometimes I didn’t know who I was playing against because there are so many leagues, sports… Everything is in pay per view. In addition, there is Netflix, HBO… And people spend money on what they want and can.

Q. Do you think this League is boring, with Barça winning 1-0 or 0-1, already nine points ahead of Madrid?

R. The Premier distributes television rights much more and that means that there are six teams always fighting for the title. I know that the League wants there to be excitement beyond Barça and Madrid and the other clubs must be promoted.

Q. Do you do sports?

R. Since the day I played the last game against Almería I have not taken a step faster than another.

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