Pique: Arbeloa doesn't deserve a response


Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has mocked Alvaro Arbeloa's role at Real Madrid as part of the latest spat between the two.

Arbeloa posted a message on Twitter in the wake of Barca's defeat to Real Sociedad on Saturday which read 'How difficult it is to win against 11 men!' before praising the performances of former Madrid midfielders Asier Illarramendi and Esteban Granero.

The full-back's remark seemed to refer to Barca's 2-1 Champions League quarter-final first-leg win over Atletico Madrid, in which they came from a goal down to secure victory after Fernando Torres was sent off.

When asked for his response shortly after the match at Anoeta, Pique replied: "A player who has started once in 32 games doesn't deserve a response. I'll tell my friends to tell me when I'm not a protagonist, either on the pitch or off it."

The Spain duo resumed their dispute on social media soon afterwards, with Arbeloa quoting Pique's response with the comment 'well he's right. What a film. The truth hurts' - relating to a film Pique had spoken about earlier in the week.

The Barca man responded by calling out Arbeloa on a punctuation error, after which the 33-year-old again brought up the topic of Torres' hotly debated red card.

The exchange was the latest incident in a lingering feud between the two. In December, Pique referred to Arbeloa as "a cone" in a vulgar play on words, after the former Liverpool man had accused his compatriot of being "obsessed" with Real Madrid.

Moving on from the argument, Pique called on his team-mates to put Saturday's defeat behind them and focus on the second leg with Atleti on Wednesday.

He continued: "We started with the goal and that hurt us. We didn't play well in the first half and the second was difficult. No team can do everything perfectly in a season.

"The important game is Wednesday. That's where we're playing in the most important competition of all."

Barca's lead at the top of La Liga is now down to three points with six games remaining, and Pique concedes they now cannot afford any further slip-ups if they are to defend their title.

"Of course the 1-0 penalises us. In the second half we were a bit better and created chances, but it wasn't enough," he added.

"We deserved our margin and we've been able to allow for these setbacks. Now we're at our limit. We have to move forward. Maximum confidence. You don't have to lose confidence in this team."