Barcelona veteran Gerard Pique appeared to take a shot at former Blaugrana midfielder Rafinha via a cryptic message on Twitter. The Spaniard was already critical of LaLiga Santander's refereeing team after indirectly questioning the decisions Real Madrid have received earlier on.
Pique remarked after their ill-fated draw against Sevilla;
"It will be very difficult to win this league. Given the days that have happened, it will be difficult for Real Madrid to lose points."
However, there was another moment — in their latest clash against Celta Vigo —which had Pique questioning the decisions made by the referees.
The Catalans travelled to Abanca-Balaidos on Saturday in LaLiga in the hope of three points to keep pace with Real Madrid. It was relatively smooth-sailing for Barcelona until the last two minutes of regulation time when Iago Aspas broke Catalan hearts.
Celta Vigo were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box which the former Liverpool striker stepped up to take. He surprised Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a near-post finish and slotted it into the net after a slight deflection from Antoine Griezmann.
It was, however, a controversial free-kick that was awarded in the first place. Celta midfielder Rafinha was charging at the Barcelona box with the ball when Pique, attempting to stop him, slid in for a tackle. Upon several replays from different angles, it proved to be a questionable decision from referee Guillermo Squares Fernández.
There appeared to be little contact made by Pique on the former La Masia product. Despite several appeals to the referee at the time, he insisted that there was a foul committed and awarded the free-kick just outside Barcelona's box.
Barcelona legend Pique, after the game, took to Twitter to express his reaction to the incident that occurred against Celta. He tweeted the words 'We were fated to pretend. To pretend.' on his official handle @3GerardPique.
This could, in theory, be a reference to a song composed by American band MGMT named 'Time to pretend' in which these exact words are used repeatedly. Realistically though, given the circumstances and the timing of the tweet, it is likely that the Spaniard referred to Rafinha pretending on the pitch to win a foul.
Barcelona's claims for being hard done by for conceding a non-existent foul were backed up by former LaLiga referee Juan Andujar Oliver. The Spaniard who currently works as an analyst told MARCA Radio;
"[Gerard] Pique goes to the ground to stop Rafinha, but at no time is there contact to point out the foul. He drops and the referee is wrong to understand that there was a foul from the Barca defender."
Late Aspas equaliser could prove costly for Barcelona's LaLiga ambitions
Barcelona opened the scoring via a pin-point set-piece delivery from the talismanic Lionel Messi. The skipper found Luis Suarez perfectly from a free-kick who headed the ball in from a few yards out in the opening 20 minutes.
Five minutes after the restart of play, Barcelona were caught upfield, and Celta launched a blazing counter and raced towards the away goal. Okay Yokuslu squared the ball to Fyodor Smolov across the Barcelona goal, and the Russian stabbed the ball in past a helpless ter Stegen.
17 minutes later, Messi found Suarez just inside the Celta box, and the Uruguayan turned quickly to produce a sublime finish with his weaker foot. Barcelona controlled the game and were all but confident of sealing the points until Aspas struck late on.
This win could now open up a three-point gap at the top of LaLiga should Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid beat Espanyol on Monday.Published 28 Jun 2020, 03:59 IST