Espanyol far above Pique 'nonsense', insists Rubi

Getty Images

Rubi said Espanyol are "far above this nonsense" in response to Barcelona defender Gerard Pique's claims he has more money than their budget for the season.

Pique stoked the fire ahead of Saturday's LaLiga derby at Camp Nou after telling Movistar+ show 'La Resistencia': "I have more money than the budget of Espanyol this year. Nope, not just €57million, it's plenty more than that."  

Described as "light-hearted" by Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde, Espanyol said their values "cannot be measured in Euros" in a statement on Friday.

And Espanyol boss Rubi was in no mood to discuss Pique heading into his team's showdown with the LaLiga leaders.

"It is my second press conference prior to a derby and in each one I've had to refer back to him," Rubi told reporters.  "I don't feel like answering. In our dressing room, we're very focused on Saturday's game, which we want to win.

"Like the club believes, some values are more important than economic ones, like humility. I haven't answered Pique.

"I feel like I'm at a club which is fantastic and where we have history and humility. As long as I'm the coach, things will be respectful. We have had five questions about Pique and I don't care for them.

"We're far above this nonsense. We have enough about us to be a great Espanyol who cause worry. All I care about is goals for Espanyol, although I don't care who scores, and yes I hope we're speaking in the plural about them."

Pique's comments on Spanish television on Thursday even drew a response from LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

"Pique can be sarcastic at times, though there's a need to be careful with this sarcasm when talking about rivals," Tebas said.

"In any case, he was wrong about the numbers. Espanyol have much greater wealth than he does, I'm sure.

"I think he has mixed up annual budget with the total budget of Espanyol. Maybe he needs to take a course in football finance."