Pique backs Xavi over Cesc comments

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has backed comments made by team-mate Xavi regarding the future of Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas.

Barca midfielder Xavi irked the Gunners by publically stating their skipper was 'suffering' in London and wanted Arsenal to allow him to return to Barcelona.

"I spoke to Cesc in Ibiza and he told me he was suffering because he wants to come," Xavi was quoted as having said at a news conference at a youth training camp in Catalunya last week, adding: "That's what he most desires. He has done everything to come and he wants Arsenal to let him leave."

But Pique has sought to ease any potential rift, insisting that Xavi's comments had been blown out of proportion.

"Barcelona and the players have always spoken with great respect," Pique told Spanish newspaper Sport.

"Any player suffers when there's so much talk about his future due to the uncertainty of not knowing where he will be playing. Saying that is not a lack of respect to anybody."

"I know how the situation is, but I think we must leave Cesc in peace and let things run their course. The summer is very long, there has been a lot of talk and it doesn't help at all."

Pique, like Fabregas, left Barcelona for England at a young age, joining Manchester United aged 17 having previously played for the Catalan club's youth teams alongside Fabregas.

The defender won the League Cup, Premier League and Champions League during his time at Old Trafford, only to return to Camp Nou in the summer of 2008.

Fabregas has long been linked with a similar return 'home', but Arsenal remain insistent they will not cash in on their skipper.