MADRID — Gerard Piqué asked for help from the president of the Spanish soccer federation to play at the Tokyo Olympics, audio stolen from the federation revealed Wednesday.
The details, published by the El Confidencial newspaper, came after other audio had revealed that the Barcelona defender helped to negotiate a $26 million commission to take the federation’s Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.
Piqué can be heard asking federation president Luis Rubiales to talk to Olympic team coach Luis de la Fuente and set up a meeting between them.
“You have to do this for me, Rubi, you have to make it happen,” Piqué said. “We have to keep it a secret and talk to the coach … I’ll go to Madrid and we sit with him. We have to do it in a way that it’s not out anywhere. The three of us have to keep this very secret until the end, don’t you think?”
Rubiales agreed to talk to the coach but said it would be up to De la Fuente to decide what to do.
“Yes, we have to keep it a secret, and if the coach wants to do it, let’s go ahead with it, I’d be thrilled,” Rubiales said.
Piqué said he didn’t want the information leaked to keep other players from trying to request the same thing. He said he had heard that Sergio Ramos also wanted to play and likely leaked that to the media to try to pressure the coach.
The president eventually talked to De la Fuente and said the coach asked to wait until the national team had secured its qualification for the Olympic tournament.
“He said that after the team qualifies he will talk to you,” Rubiales said. “I don’t want to pressure him. He said he would like to talk to you, but after the team qualifies.”
Rubiales spoke publicly for the first time in a news conference on Wednesday and said that Piqué was not the only player who talked to him about going to the Olympics.
“I talked to De la Fuente about him and about other players as well,” Rubiales said. “I told him that some called and that he had to make his own decision. Piqué wasn’t the only player who called.”
Neither Piqué nor Ramos made it to the Olympic squad, which ended with the silver medal after losing to Brazil in the final. The over-23 players called up to the team were Mikel Merico, Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos.
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