Speaking at the 1st edition of the Business Sport Forum of Expansión and MARCA, former Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique has made a dark prediction about the future of Barça and Real Madrid in European football.
Pique, who retired from football in November last year, and started the Kings League project, discussed in length the system in place in European football and American football and how the lack of equality in economic structure in Europe could lead to problems for Real Madrid and Barcelona.
“It [American sport] is better structured for the franchises. In Europe it’s all in the hands of the players. Barça and Madrid are not going to be able to compete in the long run, this is obvious,” Pique said, as quoted by MARCA.
Further elaborating on the matter, the former defender added: “What happens in Europe? Each league is regulated differently. La Liga has a very strict Fair Play and other leagues have a different system. And then in Europe, you have to compete against those teams.
“As there is no regulation in terms of Fair Play, you are exposed to those clubs paying more through other channels, and we are going to end up with Barça and Madrid not being able to compete.”
“We are on the path where in five years, Barça and Madrid won’t be able to compete in Europe,” Pique remarked.
Pique against the Super League project
Pique also spoke about the European Super League project, spearheaded by Real Madrid, with Barcelona also being involved in the scheme.
Expressing his opposition to the project, the former Barça defender said: “The Super League is a closed league, and that’s where I’m against it. A Super League of 14, 16, or 30, there are a lot of teams that are going to be left out.”
“In the end, the big teams would gain a lot of value, but you would destroy an important part of football, which are perhaps second-tier teams but which have a brutal mass of fans and which in the long term would cease to exist,” he added.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.