The defender cast doubt over the possibility of him ever swapping Barcelona for the Santiago Bernabeu and also praised Luis Enrique’s methods
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes goalkeeper Iker Casillas would be his hero if he were a Real Madrid fan.
The defender, 28, has been a Spain team-mate of the veteran shot-stopper since 2009, when he made his debut for the national side after returning to Barca from Manchester United.
After a dip in form in 2014, Pique has been back to his imperious best this year, in stark contrast to the below-par displays served up by Casillas.
Pique, however, refused to join the list of Casillas critics and backed the Madrid number one to return to top form – starting this international week.
“He has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world for many years,” the centre-back told Cadena SER. “To understand the whistles at the Santiago Bernabeu I guess you’d have to be there.
“If I was a supporter of Madrid, he’d be my idol, the standard I’d hold myself to. He is an example for all Madrid players.”
Although he won World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 at Casillas’ side, Pique doubts he will ever line up alongside the goalkeeper at Barca’s arch-rivals.
“One can never say never, but I very much doubt it,” he added when asked about the chances of him playing for Real Madrid. “Barca have always been my team of choice.”
Barca stretched their lead at the top of La Liga to four points with their weekend Clasico victory and the defender thinks their ascent since the turn of the year is due to adjusting to Luis Enrique’s methods.
“It took a little while at the start of the season to get used to the new coach, but gradually we are getting used to how he wants us to play,” Pique continued.
“His methods are a little different to Pep Guardiola, but his relationship with his players is similar.
“Personally, I’m at a good level right now and the team are, too. We’re in a great position.”
As well as sitting atop La Liga, Barca have a Copa del Rey final to look forward to and will face Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight of the Champions League next month.