Spain defender Gerard Pique seemingly wasn’t as enamoured with Cristiano Ronaldo as everybody else on Friday night.
The Real Madrid forward was on fire in Sochi and scored a brilliant hat-trick as Portugal rescued a 3-3 draw against the Spanish to ensure that they began their World Cup campaign on a semi-decent footing.
Not only was Ronaldo central to all three goals, but he also had a major hand in the build-up to at least two of them. He was felled in the box by Real clubmate Nacho after just three minutes – a decision which was a bit controversial as Ronaldo went down pretty easily – and it was he who Pique pushed in the back to give away the free kick that the 33-year-old scored to level the match in the dying minutes.
Speaking after the game, Pique was a bit bemused at Ronaldo for going down so easily, and at the match officials for awarding the fouls.
“Cristiano is very prone to diving and they award him almost every foul.
“We picked ourselves up again after a lot of problems because starting a World Cup by conceding a penalty in the second minute and going behind is difficult but we scored three goals and we have to be happy with how the game went.”
Pique also hinted that he was put out by the conduct of former Spain manager Julen Lopetegui this week. Lopetegui was fired from his role in charge of the national team less than 24 hours after it was announced that he would be succeeding Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, and the Barcelona defender didn’t like the manner in which the negotiations with Real were handled:
“The fact he negotiated with Madrid doesn’t bother me, a huge club came for him, the way he did it is up for debate. There are thousands of opinions, the president didn’t like it and took his decision and the players have accepted it.”
Spain will be expected to bounce back from this setback by picking up their first win of the campaign against Iran next week.