We’ve all got them: that one mate in the group chat who lives for the dig; for the rustle; for the ferocious troll heat – that one mate you can’t really remember why you’re mates with.
Turns out that, when it comes to the Spanish national team’s WhatsApp group, Gerard Pique – surprise, surprise – is that one mate.
Indeed, the Barcelona defender has revealed that he regularly pokes, prods and riles his Real Madrid-based contemporaries whenever the occasion should present itself.
Writing in the Player’s Tribune, Pique revealed:
Every time [Madrid] won a match last season, they were posting shirtless photos on Instagram from the locker room.
Remember that? They were smiling and flexing their muscles like The Rock and saying #HalaMadrid and posting little trophy emojis. This season, though, it’s a different vibe. All their Instagram photos are looking very sombre. ‘Three points today. We must keep working harder!’
So I’m texting them in the WhatsApp group, ‘Come on guys, why so serious?!’ Then I put a little crying emoji, and a laughing emoji. I even made a special name for the group. It’s called: CONGRATULATIONS.
I can joke around with those guys, because they are my brothers on the Spanish national team.
Yep. We’re certain they adore you for it, Gerard.
As part of the essay, Pique also recalled one of his first run-ins with an irate Roy Keane during his Manchester United days.
Little more than a teenager at the time, the centre-back incurred the wrath of the Irish nutter when his phone went off in the dressing room.
We’ll let the man himself take over, as the anecdote is a goodie:
I’m literally sitting right next to Keane. The dressing room is so small that our legs are almost touching. There’s no space at all. It’s dead quiet. All of a sudden, you could hear this little vibration.
Roy’s looking around the room. Oh, sh*t. I realise it’s me. He can’t find where the noise is coming from. He’s looking around the room like a maniac, his eyes darting everywhere. You know the famous scene with Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’, when he bursts through the door? That’s what he looked like.
He screams out to everybody, “Whose phone is that?!” Silence. He asks again. Silence. He asks a third time.
“Whose. Bloody. F**king. Phone. Is. That?!”
Finally, I spoke up, like a little boy. Very softly, I said, “I’m so sorry. It’s mine.”
Roy put his arm around me, and he laughed, and he told me not to worry about it.
No, come on, of course I’m joking! Roy lost his mind! He went nuts in front of everybody! It was incredible. I almost sh*t myself. But it was a good lesson.
Honestly, we’d expect nothing less than pure, unfettered violent overreaction from a proven swivel-eyed lunatic.
Pique is lucky to have made it out alive.