Barcelona's Gerard Pique brands Cristiano Ronaldo a diver in bitter outburst after 3-3 World Cup draw

Sport360 staff 18:07 16/06/2018
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Gerard Pique was far from pleased after Cristiano Ronaldo's late winner

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has branded Cristiano Ronaldo a diver after Spain’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Portugal in their opening Group B World Cup clash.

The 31-year-old was clearly unhappy after the match feeling Spain were the better team and only failed to win due to Ronaldo’s theatrics.

“We had more chances, they had three shots and scored three goals,” he said. “Games go one way and you have to face it.

“Finding yourself in the opening game of the World Cup with a penalty against you and a goal down after two minutes, you have to leave with a good feeling about how the game went.

“Cristiano has a habit to dive.”

Pique would not hear criticism of David de Gea despite the Manchester United keeper’s howler in gifting Ronaldo a goal on the stroke of half-time.

“[De Gea has] been doing this for many years and we all face it, I’m sure that in important moments he will be how he has always been,” said Pique.

“A lack of confidence? Not at all, it’s what you want to suggest, in the dressing room it’s clear that David is our goalkeeper, he’s shown it for years.”

Pique would not however be drawn on the shock departure of former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament, after being announced as Real Madrid’s replacement for Zinedine Zidane.

“We are hurt as little as possible, we’re all in it together in the World Cup,” he stated. “It’s not a good experience for anyone.

“We hope to reach the final and win it, in the end we’ll see. The World Cup has started, you have to turn the page, the time to reflect will come but for now in the competition you have to focus on the football.

“There were meetings with many people and from there the president decides, you’ve seen that. From that everything stays with us.

“The fact he negotiated with Madrid doesn’t annoy me, at all, the background is clear, it’s a huge club and the club of his life.

“The argument is about the manner [in which he negotiated] and the president didn’t like it. The players are here to play, the less we talk the better.”

This is set to be Pique’s last World Cup with the defender already announcing plans to retire from international football.

Gerard Pique and Cristiano Ronaldo clash during the match

Gerard Pique and Cristiano Ronaldo clash during the match

“I’ve already said it and the decision is quite certain, you never know 100 percent what will happen but when I say something I usually follow through with it,” said Pique.

“I think the time has come, we hope to win and go out with a bang.”

Pique, who is a crucial member of Spain’s back four, is set to make his next appearance against surprise Group B leaders Iran on Wednesday night in Kazan.

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