Pique 'not at all worried' about Messi future and denies players are angry with Barcelona board
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is not concerned that Lionel Messi has not yet signed his new contract.
Gerard Pique says he is "not at all worried" that Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona and insists the senior players are not angry with the club's directors.
Speculation has mounted that Messi is considering his future, with the Argentina star yet to sign the contract extension that was agreed in July.
Manchester City are reportedly prepared to activate his €300million release clause, even though he is now in the final year of his deal, although Messi's father Jorge is said to have denied meeting with the Premier League club's sporting director Txiki Begiristain.
But Pique does not appear concerned by the rumours, insisting that Messi remains as attached to Barca as ever.
"I'm not at all worried that he hasn't signed," he said on Thursday, as quoted by Mundo Deportivo. "I know him, I know how he is and I know that he loves Barca more than anybody."
Talk around Messi's apparent uncertainty to commit to his new contract was fuelled when the 30-year-old was pictured at a party with former team-mate Neymar just hours after Barca announced they are taking legal action against the Brazilian over an alleged breach of contract, which relates to his €222m move Paris Saint-Germain.
The photographs, published on Neymar's Twitter account, were seen by some as a display of anger towards the club as a result of their decision to take action against the Brazilian during what has been a difficult and damaging transfer period.
Pique, who was among the Barca players at the gathering, has denied that the pictures were published on social media out of frustration with the board, stressing that they did not know about the club's confirmation of the lawsuit until later.
"We're not angry with the board," he said. "The fact that the photos with Neymar came out on the day the club announced they were going to court with him was a coincidence.
"When the statement came out, we were at the party and we didn't know.
"I can understand that the fans are hurting about Neymar's exit. They also have to understand that Neymar has been our team-mate for years and is a great friend besides."
Pique caused a stir when he admitted that he felt Barca were a worse team than Real Madrid for the first time in his career following their 5-1 aggregate defeat in the Supercopa de Espana.
However, the centre-back has clarified that he does not consider Zinedine Zidane's side to boast better individuals and said that starting the LaLiga campaign with a 2-0 win over Real Betis has helped to restore some confidence.
"The Supercopa wasn't as expected, but starting LaLiga with a win is always positive," he said. "I don't think we're inferior [to Madrid] on a player-to-player level."