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Does Gerard Piqué Need a Rest?

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The defender has not covered himself in glory lately, yet he is playing every minute

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Gerard Piqué has had a recent run of mistakes that has some fans pulling hair out. The defender has had good moments, too, of course, including a goal against Girona. But the 31-year-old has had lapses that are hard to excuse, including a terrible pass against Leganés which gifted them the go-ahead goal.

Yet there is a curious stat here too: the defender has completed every single minute of the season, something only matched by the keeper, Marc-André ter Stegen.

True, Piqué had the international break off as he retired from international duty. But the reality is he has played quite a lot, even then. Messi and Alba also had the international break off, for example, and they have been rested from time to time.

Remember, sometimes mental mistakes are a product of a slight lack of physical sharpness.

Ernesto Valverde may be resistant to sub him off as his backup centerbacks are all left-footed. But he also doesn’t have a natural left-back in the senior squad, and Alba got time off. Plus, the other central defenders all have quality: Clément Lenglet and Thomas Vermaelen are good enough to play for Barcelona, or at least one would think. Perhaps there are reasons to prefer a right-footed defender on the right, but it’s not some sort of unbreakable rule.

On the other hand, there’s the argument that any player making this many crucial mistakes should be benched just due to performance. That is, if only to show that no one’s job is entirely safe and everyone must work hard.

Piqué has been one of Barcelona’s best players for a long time. He captained them today. But even he can go off form. How should this situation be handled?