Barcelona defender Pique defends referees despite four-match ban

Barcelona, Aug 25 (IANS) Spanish champions FC Barcelona’s defender Gerard Pique may be serving a four-game ban following his sending off in Spanish Super Cup, but defended the supervision standards of the Spanish referees on Tuesday.

Pique was sent off for insulting the assistant referee of Velasco Carballo, a man who has sent him off before and who Pique then accused of having acted with pre-meditation, reports Xinhua.

However when appearing at a publicity event, he insisted, “whether or not Barcelona win the league this season doesn’t depend on the referees. Referees are 100 percent impartial.”

He expressed the hope that his suspension would be reduced.

“I am optimistic and I hope it is reduced, because it is hard to not be able to help the team,” he said, adding that even if he was not able to play, “there is a team and it is wrong to say we don’t have enough depth.”

Meanwhile FC Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu rejected media reports that said English giants Manchester United were preparing a bid worth a total of 240 million pounds ($378.6 million) in order to try and lure Brazilian ace Neymar from Barcelona.

“He is young and we want him to stay here and to retire at the club,” said Bartomeu, who added that the club would start contract discussions with the Brazilian in the coming months.

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