Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique were pitured with Cesc Fabregas in the early hours of Monday morning…
Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has failed to condemn Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi for visiting a casino less then two days before their crunch Champions League clash with Manchester City.
Barcelona star believes Lionel Messi will inspire against Manchester City
Champions League predictions: Arsenal, Barcelona and Juventus tipped to win in this week’s last 16 first legs
Manchester City dealt new injury blow for Newcastle & Barcelona games
The two were pictured with ex-Barca, now Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas early Monday morning only hours before they were set to fly to Manchester for last-16 tie.
The pictures are particularly controversial given the loss Barcelona suffered to Malaga at the weekend, a 1-0 defeat at the Camp Nou which ended an 11-match win streak for the Catalans.
However, Enrique has sought to play down the affair.
“What did the player say?” said Enrique when asked about the casino visit, reports Daily Mirror. “It forms part of his private life.”
“I concentrate on football, I’m not concerned about things outside of it. I’d say it’s just the environment of the club generally.
“People know me from when I played at the club, you need extra things at this club to decorate the tree of life.
“I just need to concentrate on football things, nothing else, everyone needs their own strategy to deal with these things.”
Enrique has been dogged by rumours that he has fallen out with Messi since becoming Barca boss at the beginning of this season.
However, he denied that he had an issue with the Argentine or anyone else in the Barcelona team.
Gerard Pique meanwhile defended himself over the visit saying it was a private affair.
“It’s my private life. We just had a nice time there.
“There is no problem between ourselves and the manager,” said Pique. “We get on fine, the relationship is good and we have just come off the back of 11 wins on the bounce.
“We don’t have to worry ourselves about it [the defeat] or think about it any more. It is behind us now.
Barcelona knocked City out at the same stage of the competition last season securing a 2-0 win at the Etihad.