FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique can't seem to stay away from the headlines in Spain as of late. Following the controversy surrounding his separation from Colombian pop superstar Shakira, he is back in the news once more but not for anything related to football.

According to Spanish publication Marca, Pique has suffered a setback in one of his real estate investments in the country's southern coast. Pique has reportedly invested in a luxury hotel project in Malaga, located in the tourist hotspot of Costa del Sol. He reportedly bought land for 20 million dollars back in 2015, and had started to break ground on the construction of the hotel.

Unfortunately, that's when the excavation team discovered 250 graves in the property. As such, excavation had to be halted and construction could not proceed until further studies are made on the discovery.

Archaeologists have been called in to determine if the graves have any significant value and if they need to be preserved. However, this does not seem to be the case at the moment. "We have excavated about 250 tombs, of which the vast majority are empty. Possibly, the tombs were never used, and are not valuable enough to be preserved. It is one of the largest necropolises in the country," said archaeologist Alberto Cumpian, who is part of the team investigating the discovery.

If what he said is true, then the project is expected to move forward by January 2023. Any delay in a construction project is of course equivalent to significant losses, and Pique will not want to face any further delays.

Meanwhile, he is also busy dealing with other investments under his Kosmos Holding company. The footballer has stakes in many other business ventures apart from his obligations to the Barcelona first team.

Back on the pitch, the Blaugrana suffered a massive blow last week when they were booted out of the Champions League group stage for the second year in a row. Despite a massive revolution under manager Xavi Hernandez, they were unable to make it into this season's knockout stage. As a result, they are heading back to the Europa League where they will be hoping to lift the trophy.

While they have had a disaster in Europe, they are at least doing well in La Liga, where they are only a point behind leaders Real Madrid. Pique has been criticised for having too many distractions outside the pitch in the past several months, and it remains to be seen if he will continue to be an important part of Xavi's squad moving forward.

Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique's goal gave Barcelona a welcome victory AFP / Josep LAGO