'Complete breakdown' in Messi and Pique relationship, report claims

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Long-time team-mates: Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique.

The relationship between Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique has completely broken down, according to El Chiringuito.

The Spanish television show are reporting that tensions between the pair are said to have grown in wake of Blaugrana’s recent poor form, which has seen the Catalan club draw two and lose one of their last three La Liga games.

Pique is apparently not happy that club captain Messi rarely speaks to the media, particularly when things are going wrong for the club.

“Pique is critical of Messi for not facing up (to the press) when the going gets tough,” the programme claimed on Monday.

“He feels that Leo only talks when he’s not in Europe, with Argentina.”

Messi, meanwhile, is said to have hit back at the Spanish defender by pinning the blame for Barcelona’s current run of poor results on the Blaugrana backline.

“He has told him that they’re letting in too many goals; he has made it apparent to Pique that (he thinks) the defence is not offering the protection it should.”

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Dani Carvajal takes swipe at Atletico Madrid's tactics following Bernabeu draw

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Dani Carvajal enters a crunching challenge with Filipe Luis.

Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal took aim at Atletico Madrid following their 0-0 La Liga draw at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

The Whites failed to break Diego Simeone’s men down on home soil, as Los Rojiblancos extended their unbeaten record to six straight league matches at Los Blancos’ HQ.

The hosts dominated the game, particularly in the second-half, and had 66 per cent of the possession as well as more shots on goal and on target.

And while Atletico were arguably the better side in the first period, Carvajal believes Diego Simeone’s men played for a draw and were all too happy to frustrate their more illustrious neighbours and waste time.

“For them (Atletico) a draw is gold,” the 26-year-old told reporters post-match.

“Each team play however they want, but when a team wasted time from the first minute and is happy with a draw then it is hard to win.

“I will sign up for not winning (against them) in the Bernabeu ever and to keep winning titles.”

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Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui remaining positive despite draw with Atletico Madrid

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Niggling injury: Gareth Bale.

Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui believes his team must stay positive despite the frustrations of not being able to beat rivals Atletico in a goalless draw at the Bernabeu.

Earlier in the day, Barcelona – who were stunned at Leganes on Wednesday – could only muster a 1-1 draw at home against Athletic Bilbao, which meant Real had the chance to move ahead at the top of the La Liga table.

However, Los Blancos failed to produce a response from the midweek loss at Sevilla, and lacked a cutting edge.

Goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois and Jan Oblak each made one key save in either half as both teams had to make do with a share of the spoils.

“We didn’t win the game simply because we didn’t manage to score, but overall, I think that we were by far the better side, particularly in the second half, in which we created several chances,” Lopetegui said at a press conference.

“After the break, we managed to pen Atletico back into their own half, overcame adversity and delivered a good performance. However, if you don’t score, you don’t win football matches.

“I take some big positives from tonight’s game. When faced with difficulty, the team stood tall and improved, having had a day’s less rest (to prepare) and with some absentees, and showed character and personality.

“We played well, but failed to get the goal to make our dominance tell.

“The goals will come. We’ve had chances and they will come.”

Lopetegui added: “LaLiga is competitive and long for everyone, and every game is extremely difficult.

“We don’t focus on the opposition, we know that it’ll be a long road and a difficult one. There’s a long way to go and we have to give our all.”

Gareth Bale was substituted at the break, which could prove another setback for the Real forward, who will be assessed ahead of the Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow.

Lopetegui said: “Bale had discomfort in his adductor at half-time and as a precaution he didn’t come out for the second half. We will test him tomorrow and we’ll see.

“Isco had appendicitis, which is a shame, and we hope that Marcelo is back in a few weeks.

“It’s not good that we’ve got injuries and we will look for solutions.”

The visitors could well have gone into half-time ahead but for Courtois producing a fine reaction block, with his face, to deny Antoine Griezmann on the break.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone said at a press conference: “We had two very important chances in the first half to find the back of the net.

“In the second half they improved and we worked very well to close the match.”

“The team is playing very well. I think we’ve been growing. We made a very good first half and now we have to continue in this line.”

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