MADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona’s Gerard Pique defended his daily trips to the Davis Cup tennis tournament this week after his side earned a nervy 2-1 win at Leganes on Saturday to remain top of La Liga.
Pique has been questioned for travelling to Madrid each day to attend the first edition of the tournament his Kosmos company has transformed, with newspaper Sport saying his role as figurehead was incompatible with his job as a Barca player.
“I had a friendly conversation with the coach about my plans and how we were going to manage it, I have a phenomenal relationship with the coach and with the club, all this noise is coming from outside,” Pique told reporters.
The defender has not been at his usual best this season and was slow to close down forward Youssef En-Nesyri as he fired Madrid side Leganes into the lead, although Barca turned the game around with strikes from Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal.
Pique laughed off suggestions he was suffering from tiredness from his Davis Cup trips and explained he would not be travelling back to Barcelona with the team due to his tennis commitments with Spain playing Britain in the Davis Cup semi-finals later on Saturday.
“The journeys take 40 minutes, I’m just getting all this attention for who I am and what I represent. I try to do things in a simple way and the criticism is not serious, but people are allowed to think what they want,” he said.
“I’m staying in Madrid to watch the Davis Cup semi-finals. What you do off the pitch is your business, my only job is to play well and do as well as possible.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond)