Last summer, Gerard Pique lobbied with Barcelona not to renew Lionel Messi’s contract, according to a new report.

Last summer, Gerard Pique reportedly begged Barcelona not to extend Lionel Messi’s contract in order to save the club’s finances.

Messi was told by Catalans president Joan Laporta before his move to PSG that they couldn’t afford to keep him, despite the Argentine agreeing to drop his salaries by half, a deal worth over £425 million over four years.

The 34-year-old then completed a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, where he signed a two-year contract worth £35 million per season.

Barcelona defender Pique betrayed his old friend Messi, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais, by asking the club to let the forward go for the sake of the club.

Pique and Messi were teammates at Barcelona’s La Masia academy’s junior team and then in the Catalans’ senior squad for 14 years.

But this isn’t the first time that allegations of a rift between Messi and Pique have surfaced since the Argentine’s arrival to Paris.

According to rumors in Spain, Messi felt duped by Pique after the defender reduced his Barcelona salary package until after the striker had left.

Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets are Messi’s other close Barcelona mates. Both players took pay concessions to make room for Messi to stay, but Pique did not reveal his reduced pay until it was too late.

Onze on TV3 interviewed journalist Lluis Canut.

‘In part, he felt duped by Pique since [he didn’t further decrease his contract] until Messi left the club, and Messi felt he should have done it sooner to avoid his departure.’

Meanwhile, Onda Cero reporter Alfredo Martinez said their relationship is ‘broken.’ Pique admitted a month ago that it was difficult to see Messi leave his boyhood club and praised him as the ‘greatest in history.’

‘I’ve shared a dressing room with him since I was 13,’ he told El Homiguero. ‘He’s practically like a brother to me, and it was really difficult on a sporting and personal level.’ ‘Things haven’t gotten off to a good start this year, in part because the best in history has left us.’

Meanwhile, SPORT claimed that Messi refused to invite Pique to a Barcelona reunion involving Alba and Busquets during last month’s international break.

Messi was joined by both Busquets and Alba at a high-end Japanese restaurant on January 24, although Pique, his old friend, was not present.

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