Pique was snubbed by Real Madrid players after Mourinho’s antics
Gerard Pique has admitted his own teammates on international duty snubbed him ahead of a major tournament.
The Barcelona legend spoke to Gary Neville on The Overlap about the height of the El Clasico rivalry, conceding the feud has gotten so big there has been a split in the Spanish national team’s dressing room. And the defender said a lot of that was down to a certain Jose Mourinho, who was Real Madrid’s manager at the time.
Pique explained to former Manchester United defender Gary Neville how the cohesion of the Spanish squad was heading towards Euro 2012. “Since he arrived he knew that on the pitch they were weaker than us. We had a better team, for sure, and even the relationships between the players.
“I remember going to the national team and after those games. It was tough because Mourinho goes into the player’s mind and he says ‘these guys hate you’, so you believe him. J I was in the national team locker room and went to see Iker Casillas, ‘hey Iker’, and the guy didn’t talk to me.
“At that time I didn’t know it, but it was the coach, he really knew how to get into the spirit.”
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Back then, Pep Guardiola won three consecutive La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues. Mourinho, meanwhile, joined Spanish giants Real in 2010 and was able to win the league title two years later, beating the Catalans by nine points.
Guardiola burned out and decided to take a year off after Mourinho’s victory. And Pique said he thinks the current Manchester City boss is focusing too much on the Portuguese’s antics.
“We were winning everything back then and I remember the first time Mourinho came to Camp Nou he lost 5-0 to us,” Pique continued.
“It was a shock of reality of ‘woah, these guys are going hard’. Mourinho in the press conference, he was every day… you know his style. I think Guardiola at some point, it was too much. It was more important what happened off the pitch rather than on it.
“I remember at the end of the day Guardiola left, Mourinho had won the league that year, and all of a sudden he decided to leave. I’m sure in part, with Mourinho , it was too much.”