Barcelona star Gerard Pique wants Nou Camp renamed after Lionel Messi quit threat

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has claimed the club should rename the Nou Camp in honour of Lionel Messi. Pique made the suggestion in an interview with Spanish outlet La Vanguardia where he slammed the club’s handling of the saga surrounding Messi’s future over the summer, with the Argentinian attempting to leave the club.

Messi handed in a formal transfer request to Barcelona after the end of the season but legal disputes about whether the get-out clause in his contract was valid meant he ultimately ended up staying.

However, he made his views clear on the situation at the club in an interview with Goal in September and gave a particularly scathing assessment of president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

“I told the club, including the president, that I wanted to go,” Messi said. “I’ve been telling him that all year. I believed it was time to step aside.

“I believed that the club needed more young players, new players and I thought my time in Barcelona was over. I felt very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.

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“It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new ambitions.

“It did not come because of the Champions League result against Bayern, no – I had been thinking about the decision for a long time.

“I told the president and, well, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not keep his word.”

Bartomeu has since said he will not look to be re-elected as club president in 2021.

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Now, Pique has also hit out at Bartomeu, telling La Vanguardia: “As president I would have acted differently. I asked Leo to stay on.

“I didn’t have much dealings with him those days because I thought it was a very personal decision.

“I only said: ‘Leo, it’s a year, and then new people will come.’

“I asked myself: ‘How can it be that the best player in history, who we have had the incredible luck to enjoy, gets up one day and sends a burofax because he feels that they are not listening to him?’

“Everything is too shocking. What’s going on? 

“Leo deserves everything. The new stadium should be named after him first and then the sponsor.

“We should preserve our figureheads, not underappreciate them. It really gets to me.

“It surprises me that people like Pep [Guardiola], Puyi [Carles Puyol], Xavi or [Victor] Valdés are not in the club. Something is not being done right.”

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