Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has claimed his relationship with Pep Guardiola “changed’ when he started dating Shakira.
Pique spent four years under Guardiola at Barcelona, winning three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues during their time together.
Since 2011, Pique has been in a relationship with pop megastar Shakira, whom he shares two children with but is not married to.
But the 34-year-old has revealed that dating the singer-songwriter affected how he and Guardiola got on at the Camp Nou during their final year together.
Pique told comedy programme La Sotana, via Marca: “We reached an important point of tension with him, and with the dressing room in general. The Mourinho theme wears a lot. Pep wants absolute control of everything that happens.
“I started dating Shakira and the relationship with him changes,” the former Manchester United defender claimed.
“Now the relationship is perfect. I had a lot of pressure and, if there was one moment, I could think of leaving is [after the season of] 11-12.”
Guardiola left the Nou Camp in 2012 after Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid claimed the Spanish title with a 100-point haul.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup winner described that as his worst season to date, despite critics believing he has been past his best for the last few years.
He also defended fellow centre-back Samuel Umtiti, who has been booed while warming up during the opening stages of the new term for remaining at the club after Koeman informed him that he is not part of his plans.
“He is fulfilling the contract with all the obligations,” said the former Spain international. “People have to be empathic. [His] attitude is impeccable. [He] has never missed a workout.
“Another thing is who signed the contract? A president who was voted by the partners. Why do we whistle?”