Reading Pique's Black Box: It's All About the Money

Pique might be one of the worst examples of people who absorbed and exhausted their love and appreciation from people's hearts. Pique was at the centre of pivotal points of the club. This is why going back through his past, since 2017 at least, feels like uncovering a black box after the crash of a plane, hence the title of the series.


As mentioned in the previous part, Pique was easily the bravest among Barcelona's captains. It is also true that he was one of the most consistent people when it came to keeping his word. But, he was also the most influential person among the captains in the locker room, right behind Messi of course. That's what made his mistakes more unforgivable.

Reading Pique's "black box", I have created a list of reasons why Pique become such a hated figure in Barcelona. In this post, I will go through them.

His Inconsistent Performance Since 2017

During this period, Pique had some of his worst-ever performances. However, his 2018-2019 was among his best seasons throughout his career. If you think about this inconsistency, it would make sense since we're talking about a centre-back who is in his thirties. Pique wasn't only getting older, but he was doing so while playing for a team that plays with a high defensive line.

When you think about it logically, it is really not a big deal. However, what makes it a big deal is the fact that this factor comes with two other crucial reasons which make it worse: The first is the fact that Pique was always included in the starting eleven despite his aforementioned inconsistency, the second is the fact that he was getting a lot of money. We'll get back to the first one later, now let's focus on the latter.

Pique's Salary

According to the "Barcaleaks", the Barcelona scandal where the salaries of the players were leaked to the public, which by the way, comes from El Mundo, which is not the most reliable source when Gerard Pique renewed his contract at the age of thirty, he demanded to be the most paid defender in the world, surpassing everyone, and Sergio Ramos in specific.

According to the newspaper, Pique's contract was valued at 142 million in 5 years. That is 28.4 per season. This number is shocking for two reasons:

Playing The Numbers

The newspaper used an old cheap trick of calculating the numbers in Barcelona's captains' salaries. The trick is that they'd give out the total of what the club is paying, not what the player is receiving. The reason there is a difference between the two is taxes. And, the reason El Mundo did this is to ride the anger wave directed at Barcelona's captains.

The correct way of calculating the payment would be by halving it since that's how Spain's tax operates. They basically take half. By the way, that's also why Barcelona was willing to pay so much for Coutinho and Dembele after Neymar's contract was bought, otherwise, they'd have to lose half of it to the government if their financial year ended with a profit. That's just a side nugget of information.

In reality, Pique was making 14.4 to 15 million per season. Sergio Ramos was making 12.5 a season from Real Madrid, however, the newspaper wouldn't phrase it as 25 million because there's no anger wave directed at Ramos. The same rule applies to Messi's 555,237,619 Euros contract, as the real number is half of that. That whole drama took longer time than it should have because people were unable to tell the difference between what the club pays, and what the player gets.

Anyway, that contract was signed in 2017, way before the pandemic. During the pandemic, Barca's captains, Messi, Pique, Busquets, Jordi Alba, and Sergi Roberto, deferred their salaries until the club's situation improves since the club's losses were valued at around 250 million across two seasons. Later it turned out that it was way more than that. It's just hilariously mind-boggling how that club was operating.

The second reason it is still shocking is:

The Number Is Still Too High

Yes, the number was exaggerated but even the correct number was still high nonetheless. Pique didn't deserve that amount of money in total before tax, or after tax, or even deserved to be the most-paid defender in the world as per his contractual demands.

Whether those numbers by El Mundo are reliable or not takes us on a whole other route.

Enter, Louis Canute

Last January, a journalist by the name of Louis Canute appeared on one of the sports shows on Spain's TV3 and accused Pique that he became Barcelona's highest-paid player, receiving 28 million annually, right behind him are Busquets with 23 million, and Jordi Alba with 20 million. Those numbers match the ones from Barcaleaks in case you were wondering.

Pique then responded by quote tweeting the video with Louis Canute and said:

Characters like this charging public television to defend their friends. Here is 50% of my payroll collected on December 30th. Have some respect for yourself.

Pique also shared the receipt which showed him receiving half of his annual salary in December, a month before Canute's interview.

Barcelona then released a statement where they said that Canute's source of information wasn't the club and is unknown. Also that the information is false and also mentioned as fixed which is wrong as it is based on variables that will never be reached. Finally, the captains not only deferred their payments but also gave up part of their salary when they signed the contract renewals.

Let's Analyze What We Just Read

A journalist accused Pique and Co. of making too much money, Pique responded, and Barcelona backed him. But, what's interesting here is the first sentence

Characters like this charging public television to defend their friends

Who are the "friends" in question? Seems like no other than Bartomeu and his team since they have been on an ongoing crusade against Barcelona's captains at the time. But, that would mean one of three things:

  • Bartomeu and his team released those numbers, they are true, and Barcelona's statement was a fake out.

  • Bartomeu and his team released those numbers, they are not true, and Barcelona's statement was true

  • Bartomeu and his team released those numbers, they are partly true but were released either way to pressure the captains into lowering their salaries or giving them up entirely and leaving.

Any of those possibilities is valid, but this leaves the question: why start a rumour only to deny it days later? Well, mainly because of the "Belief Echoes". people hear/read a rumour which matches their views, they believe it and run with it. By the time such rumour is corrected, very few people stick around. You can read all about this phenomenon here.

That's why some newspapers start out their articles with fake titles and paragraphs, only to apologize and correct them later. However, no one would even care about the correction later. Therefore, Pique's response and Barcelona's statement are essentially meaningless as most people already believed what Canute said and didn't stick out for the response.

Assuming the truth is somewhere in the middle, it would still mean that these players knew how to abuse the club's resources and make so much money, and more importantly, ensure their place in the starting eleven for so many years. How did a decorated global football club allow that to happen? That's what we'll find out in the remainder of this series.

In Conclusion

I am not saying Barcelona's previous board leaked the contracts themselves, I am just saying that they're not beyond it. It's not a conspiracy theory, Barcelona is a club drowning in conspiracies. The money and bad performance were only part of the reasons why Pique became such a hated figure, but the fact that he was still included in the starting eleven for so long made both so much worse. The latter will be explored in the next post.


Pique was indeed playing the club. I have read about that but what I was only able to get info was the salary part. Glad it still ended well for Pique, receiving a farewell standing ovation.