Arbeloa and Pique reignite feud as La Liga title race heats up

 10 Apr 2016 - 17:06

Arbeloa and Pique reignite feud as La Liga title race heats up
Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique gestures during the Spanish league football match Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on April 9, 2016. (AFP / ANDER GILLENEA)


By Richard Martin

BARCELONA: Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa reignited his long-running war of words with Barcelona's Gerard Pique by suggesting that the Spanish League leaders manage to win only if opposing teams have had players sent off.

La Liga leaders Barca surprisingly succumbed 1-0 to mid-table Real Sociedad on Saturday, a result that not only condemned the Catalans to their second successive league defeat but also blew the title race wide open.

They now lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by three points and third-placed Real by four.

"Look how difficult it is to win against 11 men," Arbeloa mocked on Twitter, referring to the fact that Barcelona have often benefited from opposing players being sent off.

Barca were trailing 1-0 in last Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg with Atletico Madrid but secured a 2-1 win after Atletico goal scorer Fernando Torres was dismissed in the 35th minute.

Pique responded by belittling the 33-year-old's irregular run in the Madrid team, with Arbeloa starting just two league games this season.

"A player who has only started once (sic) in 32 games doesn't deserve a response," he told reporters.

"I'll say to him what my friends say to me which is that when you're not a protagonist on the pitch you shouldn't try to be one off it either."

After Madrid were disqualified from the King's Cup in December for fielding the suspended Denis Cheryshev in a game against third-tier Cadiz, Spain international Pique expressed his glee in a Twitter post.

Arbeloa later remarked: "My friend is obsessed with Real Madrid."

Pique responded by saying: "I want to make it clear that Arbeloa is not my friend, he is just an acquaintance."