Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué has claimed that it was "special" to celebrate the club's late goal against Espanyol on Sunday after the Spaniard found himself as the target of abuse from a number of fans inside the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat.

The 31-year-old was recently reported by Espanyol to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after Piqué described the club as "Espanyol from Cornellà".

The comment, which Piqué maintains is a geographical fact, rustled a few feathers at Espanyol and the defender was quick to silence those who had abused him during the goal celebrations.

"Celebrating the goal was special after everything that's happened in the last week," Piqué said after the game, as quoted by ESPN. "Some of the fans here have been directing insults at me and my family for a long time. 

"I was telling them, in general, to be quiet, but maybe I shouldn't have. I know a lot of good Espanyol fans. Maybe it should have been directed at the club or its owners for not reporting certain things...

"They are from Cornellà, like I said the other day. I know it hurt them and I used sarcasm to annoy them. But saying they play in Cornellà is not disrespectful, it's a fact.


"They complain about that and report me, but they don't investigate insults towards my family. That is disrespectful. Telling them to be quiet was the least I could do."

It has also been reported that Piqué's centre-back partner, Samuel Umtiti, was subject to racist abuse from Espanyol midfierlder Sergio Garcia and the former Lyon defender was visibly upset after the full-time whistle.