Barcelona boss Xavi has insisted that he ‘relies’ on Gerard Pique despite the centre-back struggling for action in the early stages of the 2022-23 campaign.
The 35-year-old has been a key player for Barcelona since the start of the 2008-09 campaign, including last term, when he made 40 appearances in all competitions.
However, the defender is yet to feature in La Liga this season, with his only 45 minutes of football coming as a substitute in the Champions League against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday night.
Pique still has two years left to run on his contract, but there has been a host of speculation surrounding his future, with a number of players now ahead of him in the pecking order.
Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia, Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde are all ahead of Pique in Xavi’s thinking for starting roles in the middle of the defence.
Xavi was asked about Pique ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash with Cadiz and admitted that “the current situation is not easy” for his former teammate.
However, the 42-year-old insisted that he ‘relies’ on the defender and praised his performance in the second half of the game with Plzen in Europe.
“I spoke with Gerard Pique. The current situation is not easy for him, but he played well against Viktoria Plzen and put in a great run. I rely on him,” Xavi told reporters.
Pique has made 607 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions, contributing 53 goals and 15 assists in the process.
The former Manchester United youngster has won eight La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey trophies and three Champions League crowns during his time at Camp Nou.
Xavi also said that he is expecting to face “a difficult opponent” this weekend despite the fact that Cadiz are bottom of the La Liga table on zero points.
The Yellow Submarine are unbeaten in their last four La Liga matches against Barcelona, including a 1-0 victory at Camp Nou during the 2021-22 campaign.
“We will play against a difficult opponent who plays defensively. We have struggled against them in the last four games. We will try to get the three points,” said the manager.
Xavi also insisted that his team’s full focus is on the Cadiz clash despite a Champions League clash with Bayern Munich to come next week.
“Right now we are focusing on the Cadiz encounter. We have to be humble and keep working, our target now is to win the three points. The players work hard, and they try to give their best when they play,” he added.
Barcelona’s final match ahead of the international break will be against Elche on September 17.