Gerard Pique angrily refuted claims he is Barcelona’s highest-earner, posting his payslip for the last six months on his social media pages.
The centre-back returned to Camp Nou in 2008 and has seen some of the highest highs and the lowest lows, winning the treble in his first season and then getting thrashed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League in 2020.
Amid uncertain and troubling times in Catalonia, the veteran has been accused of clearing €14million (£11.7m) a season, by television presenter Lluis Canut.
However, the 34-year-old revealed on Twitter that half his yearly salary, paid to him in December totalled €2,328,884.39 (£1.94m).
Pique tweeted: “People like this are paid by public television to defend their friends. Here is 50% of my salary as of 30 December. Have a bit of respect for yourself.”
On Spanish station TV3, Canut had claimed Pique, on €28m (£23.4m) gross, and fellow veterans Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba on €23m (£19.2m) and €20m (£16.7m) respectively were the club’s top earners.
Barcelona also denied the suggestion in a statement, saying: “In relation to comments made by Lluis Canut on TV3, Barcelona would like to clarify the following.
“1. The information on the salaries of certain first team players has not, in any case, been supplied by the club and its origin is unknown.
“2. In any case, the amounts referred to in the information are erroneous and do not conform to reality. Furthermore, in the case of the first three players referred to [Pique, Busquets and Alba], it gives fixed amounts which, as the sums involved are based on variables, will possibly never be reached.
“3. It is also false that the aforementioned players have only deferred their salary. Pique, Busquets and Alba gave up part of their salary when they signed contract renewals last summer.”
Pique, Alba and Busquets all took pay cuts in order for the club to register summer signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.
Barcelona’s statement concluded: “We consider it inappropriate, unprofessional and that [Canut] has acted in bad faith by offering this information as truthful.
“We regret that data of this type is provided because it infringes the personal rights of the players and deserves, when the information is true, confidentiality.”
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