The intrigue and plotting behind the scenes of Spanish football has been laid bare – again – after a conversation between two of the country’s legendary players, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, was leaked.
The latest extraordinary episode concerns a power struggle between Luis Rubiales, the head of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), and David Aganzo, who leads the country’s players’ union (AFE).
Marca claims that the Barcelona defender, Pique, and Rubiales were looking for support to remove Aganzo from his position. It appears Pique sought the opinion of Ramos, now at Paris Saint-Germain, who revealed details of the powerplays between Rubiales and Aganzo. It is alleged Pique then sent a recording of the conversation to Rubiales, which has now been shared in the Spanish media.
Veteran Barcelona defender Gerard Pique allegedly forwarded a recording of a conversation with Sergio Ramos
It is one of a number of messages and conversations between Pique and Rubiales to be leaked, which has sparked a feeding frenzy in the Spanish press.
The Barca centre-back has already come under scrutiny this week after El Confidential reported it had uncovered other talks between him and Rubiales – when it was revealed Pique’s company pocketed £20million for helping bring the Spanish Supercopa to Saudi Arabia.
Pique, 35, denied any wrongdoing, refuting claims there was a ‘conflict of interest’ due to his role at Barcelona and insisting that he has ‘nothing to ‘hide’. He is also adamant that the process of hosting the tournament was done ‘legally’.
Sergio Ramos, now at Paris Saint-Germain, send Pique his views on Spanish power play
Pique passed the message on to RFEF president Luis Rubiales, it is claimed
And even more details from the chats between the veteran footballer and Rubiales have surfaced.
It is alleged Pique asked the influential figure to help him get called up for the Tokyo Games, and also to keep his appearance a secret. It later emerged Ramos also was wanted to play at the Olympics, but in the event, neither were called up as Spain claimed a silver medal at the Games, losing in the final to Brazil.
In the most recent instalment of the leaking saga, Pique appears to have asked Ramos, 36, then at Real Madrid, for his view on the Rubiales-Aganzo relationship.
It is claimed Pique, who has 102 caps for Spain, forwarded the recording.
‘Rubi, this is a message that Sergio Ramos has sent me. Keep it for yourself. Please keep it confidential,’ Piqué allegedly wrote to Rubiales.
A transcript of the message reported in Spain’s media quotes Ramos as saying: ‘I know the relationship that Rubi and Aganzo have had and they were close brothers…’ Ramos is reported to have said in the recording, obtained by El Confidencial and reported in Marca.
A number of conversations between Pique and Rubiales have entered the public domain
‘And what happens? When Rubi presented himself for the presidency of the Federation, well, he put the other (referring to Aganzo) in the AFE…
‘Rubi had three or four there in the AFE who told him everything, even when Aganzo was president. So, he took them and from then on, the war started and now he wants to kill him, because Rubi wants to rule in the Federation and in the AFE.
‘This is also a very delicate subject, Geri. And me with Aganzo, obviously, I’ve already told you, the relationship was correct and professional for belonging to the union and defending the interests of the players.’
‘But… after the ugly thing he did to me I have put the cross on him. I believe that this is not an issue of ours, it is an issue… I don’t know, I think that here it’s a matter for them to solve among themselves ‘.
Ramos, who has 180 Spanish caps, and Pique played together for Spain from 2009, when the Barcelona player made his national team debut. Together they won the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship.