Gerard Pique remains a world class defender, however, does that make him un-droppable for Barcelona?
In the recent past, the elegant Catalan will be the first to acknowledge that he’s not been at his best for his club side.
A dip in form is only to be expected from time to time, but should a player then be taken out of the firing line or allowed to work through it?
Ernesto Valverde doesn’t often let his emotions show on the touchline, but even he was forced to castigate Pique after Barca’s latest defensive debacle against Betis.
As he doesn’t have the excuse of international commitments to account for any rustiness or lack of focus, one must delve a little deeper.
We don’t have to look too far either.
Not your average footballer, Pique’s business intelligence has seen him invest in a number of ventures away from the pitch.
Kosmos, a company founded and chaired by Pique have already been involved with ‘The Decision,’ a short film on Antoine Griezmann’s decision to stay at Atletico Madrid, and the revamping of the Davis Cup tennis tournament.
Though it’s folly to suggest Pique would’ve deliberately allowed his involvement in these, and other projects to affect his performances on the pitch, clearly there has been a knock-on effect.
How else can one explain the lapses in concentration, the occasions when even the basics aren’t being carried out correctly?
Where Pique must be thanking his lucky stars is that he doesn’t have any real challenger for his position at present.
It’s no foregone conclusion that the former will waltz back into the starting XI, such has been Lenglet’s impact.
Even when Thomas Vermaelen is fit again, he will only be challenging Pique if Valverde isn’t fussed about putting a square peg in a round hole.
The knowledge of almost certainly being a starter each week will give Pique a sense of being comfortable, which again can dull the competitive edge.
No one is saying that it’s intentional, but there has to be a way to ensure Pique is back to his best quickly.
The short, sharp shock of a short period out of the team, as happened with Luis Enrique the last time something similar like this occurred, appears to be the most obvious solution.
But is it the best one?
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