Barcelona star Gerard Pique has hailed the expected renewal of deals for Neymar and Sergio Busquets as crucial for the long-term future of the La Liga giants. The Spaniard tipped young players like the Brazilian international to lead the Catalans once the current veteran stars leave the Nou Camp.
Neymar's future at the La Liga champions has been under scrutiny since last summer due to delays in negotiations with the club over a new deal. Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly been monitoring the situation. But Catalunya Radio has reported that Barcelona will put an end to the saga after the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla on Sunday 22 May by announcing a new deal to commit the future of the 24-year-old to the Nou Camp until 2021.
Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo has claimed that Busquets is also expected to sign a new deal in July to increase his release clause to €200m, following the speculation linking the 27-year-old midfielder to a summer reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Pique believes that the news would be very welcome for Barcelona, as the likes of Neymar and Busquets will be essential to ensure the Catalans stay on top once the veterans leave. Iniesta, who is currently one of the leaders of the dressing room, is already 29, while captain Andres Iniesta is 32-years-old.
"It would be very important [that they sign new long-term deals]." Pique admitted in a press conference ahead of the Copa del Rey final with Sevilla. "They are very important players for Barcelona and very young, especially Ney. We have a very good generation of players but the club must build for the future because we will not be here forever. Then, players like Neymar will be the ones who have to continue making Barca big".
Pique, in the meantime, has urged his Barcelona teammates to finish the season on a high by adding another title in the Copa del Rey final, following their clinching of La Liga last weekend.
"We've achieved very high grades this season. Winning La Liga was an exceptional achievement. With the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup as well, if we can add the Copa del Rey then this will have been an excellent season."
"We are delighted to have won the league, but to win six times out of eight seasons is awesome. Nobody at this club had ever done that before. There is no other club that's able to keep going like we do. And I hope this winning era goes on and on for as long as possible."
Real Madrid-supporting publications have suggested in recent days hat Los Blancos would have been champions if Zinedine Zidane had served as the team's manager from the start of the season, as Barcelona's arch-rivals won their final 12 league matches in a row.
But an outspoken Pique pointed out that Barcelona have clinched six La Liga crowns in the last eight years, while Real Madrid have claimed just one title in the same period.
"They can let their imaginations run wild if they want. We were the ones who went on the victory parade and every year we're adding a trophy to our museum".
"I'd be quite happy to win the double every year. Real Madrid haven't won the Champions League but if they do, we'll congratulate them. When people say that Madrid are doing well and Barça aren't or vice versa there's a tendency to believe that when both win silverware, the one who has reached the Champions League final has more merit and that isn't so. During my eight years here, we've gone down our route and they've gone down their's. The statistics are there for everyone to see."