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Pique: I like to provoke Real Madrid

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has admitted he likes to provoke in order to maintain the intense rivalry with Real Madrid.

The centre-back has regularly made headlines with his comments, a war of words with ex-Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa in particular catching the eye.

Pique feels the animosity between the clubs keeps things interesting, even if he acknowledges it has taken attention away from his performances on the pitch somewhat.

"I admit that I like to provoke, I like there to be a tension purely in a sporting sense," he told TV3. 

"I think that without that, people would not love football. Without the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, the games would not have that sensation of life or death, the feeling that everything is decided in one game.

"It is true that recently I have put a brake on it, I realise when I am too close to those moments of chaos when people do not appreciate what you do on the pitch.

"Sometimes it is not so much that I like to talk, but that I am asked about specific things.

"In the end, though, we understood each other in those Barca-Madrid games with [Jose] Mourinho and [Pep] Guardiola."

Barcelona are at home to Deportivo La Coruna in LaLiga on Saturday, while Madrid visit Real Betis on the same day.

The next Clasico showdown between the foes will take place at Camp Nou on December 12.