FC Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez has reportedly told one of the club's senior stars he is no longer needed at the Camp Nou.
A stunning new report by Spanish outlet Sport has claimed that the Barca manager has told co-captain Gerard Pique he is free to leave the club due to his declining physical condition and "unprofessional" off-field conduct.
It is said that the coach's main concern with the defender is his numerous interests away from football, although the Blaugrana are also understood to be owing the 35-year-old an estimated £34.3 million (R670 million) in deferred wages.
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Director of football Mateu Alemany is reportedly working on a solution that would involve the centre-back, who is contracted to the club until 2024, agreeing to settle for less than what is due to him.
Meanwhile, on the field, minutes will be harder to come by for Pique in the 2022/23 season, something Xavi is said to have already communicated with the centre-back. It is understood that while the manager has no concerns about the player still being able to play at the top level, he believes the defender will struggle with the hectic schedule that comes with modern football, and thus feels he will not be able to rely on him.
While the 42-year-old tactician intent on moving forward without his former teammate in Barca's defence, Pique is said to remain confident he could be of great use to the manager, and has vowed to work even harder and do away with some of his business ventures in order to keep his position in the team.
The Blaugrana, though, have also been linked with a number of centre-backs in this transfer window, including Sevilla's Jules Kounde and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly, while former Chelsea star Andreas Christensen is said to have already agreed a move to the Camp Nou.
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