Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has fired back at Barcelona defender Gerard Pique after he accused Los Blancos of benefitting from refereeing decisions.
Speaking after Barcelona’s 0-0 draw against Sevilla on Friday, Pique told Movistar Plus that it would be ‘very difficult’ for them to retain the La Liga title, suggesting that ‘It’s going to be difficult for Madrid to lose points’ having seen decisions go Madrid’s way during their 3-0 win Valencia over a day prior.
Valencia had a goal disallowed after Rodrigo thought he had put Valencia in front but VAR ruled that Maxi Gomez, who was offside, interfered with play.
Midfielder Kang-in Lee was also shown a red card for kicking out at Ramos late on whose Madrid side top the LaLiga table due to a superior head-to-head record over Barcelona.
But Ramos, who has had a war of words with Pique in the past, dismissed his international team-mate’s suggestions.
‘There’s a lot of noise in the media because we’re leaders again,’ he told Movistar after Madrid’s 2-0 win over Mallorca on Wednesday.
‘They didn’t talk so much before. They talk about VAR, but I don’t think anyone has an advantage over the season.
‘We don’t pay attention to this noise. I don’t think they [the referees] take any predetermined decisions. It seems like we should be thanking the refs for being leaders! People shouldn’t be imagining things.
‘We’ve been working hard and since the lockdown, we’ve been united, and we deserve to be where we are.’
It’s not the first time the pair have exchanged words as Pique teased his compatriot by posting a series of laughing emojis on Twitter back in 2015 after Real landed in hot water over the use of cup-tied Denis Ceheryshev in the Copa del Rey.
In 2017, Pique took to Twitter again to list off eight points he felt had swayed the title race in Madrid’s favour to which Ramos responded: ‘We already know about Pique’s world, where everything’s a plot against him.’
Since Carles Puyol’s retirement, Pique and Ramos have been the established pairing at the back for Spain and have won the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2012 together but have also suffered dismal exits at the 2014 World Cup, Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.
Off the pitch, Ramos has suggested that Pique’s outspoken political views in favour of Catalan Independence has affected their national team in recent years.
Ramos told Marca in 2017: ‘Pique’s tweet is not the best if you don’t want them to whistle.
‘Maybe the tweet is not the best for the group either but everyone is free to say what they think.’
Pique has been booed by his own fans for his beliefs and retired from international duty after the 2018 World Cup.
Ramos scored in Madrid’s 2-0 win on Wednesday after Vinicius Junior had given them the lead as Zinedine Zidane’s side look to win their remaining seven games to seal the title.
Barcelona scraped past Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday to keep them hot on Madrid’s tails.