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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Gerard Pique ‘at the centre of Barcelona dressing room split’ after signing shock new contract

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Gerard Pique’s decision to sign a new contract has added further to the tensions at Barcelona, as it comes after players led by captain Lionel Messi had resisted the Barca board’s proposal to cut their salaries by 30 percent.

The 33-year-old Spain international, who arrived from Manchester United in 2008, signed a contract extension that will keep him at Barca until 2024.

Barca confirmed a buy-out clause of £457m in the contract, while noting that the extension was “subject to the player making a certain number of appearances from the 2021/22 season”.

First-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen also signed a new deal to June 2025, while centre-back Clement Lenglet and midfielder Frenkie de Jong have agreed contracts up to June 2026.

Like other sides around Europe, the Catalan side has posted losses in the wake of Covid-19.

With club stalwart and captain Messi, expressing his desire to leave during the transfer window, tension was bound to be an issue at the Camp Nou.

Over the weekend, the tensions between Pique and some of his teammates were laid bare on the football pitch, yelling “Wake up, dammit” at one point and aiming expletives at players as they went 1-0 down to Getafe.

Meanwhile, Barca has invited the rest of the team’s players for a sit-down to decide the future following their wage cut rejection.

“The constitution of this labour negotiation is part of this package of measures that the club has already been implementing in recent months, and which have helped reduce management costs and the sports payroll of all professional sports,” a statement from the club read.

“The aim of the club is to reach an agreement with the entire workforce of the club, which will go through a joint solution of temporary, gradual, proportional, and specific salary adjustment for each of the groups.

“Given the importance of the decisions that must be taken to ensure the sustainability of the club during the impact of the pandemic we are experiencing, the club remains open to the incorporation of the representation of players in this negotiation, which meets the requirements established in accordance with Article 41.4 of the Workers’ Statute.”

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