Pique Says Bankia is to Real What La Masia is to Barca.

Barcelona FC defender Gerard Pique claims Real Madrid’s ties with Spanish lender Bankia allows them to spend huge amounts on players in the transfer market when the champions could easily count on talents from its La Masia football academy.

Both Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas are Products of Barcelona's La Masia Academy.
Both Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas are Products of Barcelona’s La Masia Academy.

Pique opined that his side would never splash out 160 Euros on just three players as Madrid have done in the summer with Gareth Bale, Asier Illaramendi and Isco.

“I have read that Madrid have spent 1.2 billion Euros since 2012,” Pique told Gazzetta dello Sport. “We have spent money as well, but we do not have Bankia. We have (Lionel) Messi, Xavi (Hernandez), (Andres) Iniesta, (Carles) Puyol, (Victor) Valdez, (Sergio) Busquets, Pedro (Rodriguez)… a generation that cost nothing.

“That is our key to competing with Madrid. We have bought (Zlatan) Ibrahimovich, (David) Villa, Neymar- but one a year. We do not do what the did, not having won anything for a season, and sign Bale, Illaramendi, Isco…”

Meanwhile, AS had earlier reported that the world-record signing of Bale was bankrolled by a UK arm of Spanish lender Banco Santander, not Bankia.

Bankia, formed by the amalgamation of a number of banks, including Caja Madrid, in the fall-out from the bursting of Spain’s property bubble, is thought to be scaling back its dealings with football.

The bank is currently in negotiation with Valencia about how to best manage the club’s debts, which stands at around 400 million Euros.

Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League meeting with Ajax Amsterdam, Pique, who re-joined the Catalans from Manchester United in 2009 for 6 million Euros after being brought up by the club’s La Masia academy, underlined his feeling that Madrid were much more powerful money-wise.

“Barca have never had the chance to spend so much money,” the defender said.

“When things go badly, historically, we did not have that possibility. We know we have the good fortune of this unique generation that has come out of La Masia and not cost any money. Without those players we could not compete with Madrid, because they have a bad year and then spend so much on Bale, Isco and Illaramendi.

“We fight with what we have.”

Culled from ESPN.