Gerard Pique admits to having known that Neymar was leaving Barcelona at the time of posting his infamous ‘He stays’ photo and that the two have moved on from their subsequent falling out.
Amidst Neymar’s continued silence over the possibility of a world-record move to Paris Saint-Gerrmain in June, Pique controversially took a photo of his Barcelona teammate and posted it on his social media accounts with the caption “Se queda”, meaning: “He stays”.
Now, weeks after the incident and the Brazilian’s €222m move to the French giants, Pique admits that posting the photo was a last-ditch effort at changing the player’s mind.
“I don’t feel tricked by Neymar,” the veteran defender told reporters. “The day I said ‘he stays’ I knew that he was going 100 percent. It was the final shot.
“He got angry with me, but we worked it out. I did it to use my social networks to help this club to keep a player who has a unique talent. It was difficult but I tried to help my club.”
Pique went on to defend the manner in which Neymar departed the La Liga club, urging supporters to bear in mind that he stayed with the team throughout their pre-season tour of the US.
“He hasn’t disappointed me, there are several ways to leave, some go on strike and Ney fought for the shirt to the last second,” Pique said.
“We live in a world where people are sad and like to criticise a lot. Social media is the biggest example. The whole world expresses anger and sadness, the best example is how they criticise Ney, his dad and his friends.
“Here, everyone is judging them but if they have a salary or a commission it’s for something. Because they do something and the club accepts it,” the 30-year old added.