Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has escaped punishment following his goal celebration against rivals Espanyol during their La Liga encounter on Sunday, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has now confirmed.
The Spanish international headed home Lionel Messi’s freekick in the 82nd minute to preserve the league leaders’ 22-game unbeaten run - a club record - ensuring the Catalan derby was drawn at the waterlogged RCDE Stadium in Cornella. However, it was Pique's 'shushing' gesture towards home supporters where he placed his finger to his lips which the RFEF were investigating to decide if any action against the defender was required.
Previously, Mágico supporters had continually hurled abuse at the Barca player and his pop star partner Shakira during the King’s Cup first leg at Cornella, which the hosts won 1-0.
Although overwhelming elation at scoring a late equaliser would influence this behaviour, it also appears that an element of retribution in response to said abuse that the player had received from that encounter was symbolic of the gesture too.
Reported by Football Espana, La Liga president Javier Tebas had hinted earlier this week that a ban was possible due to the celebration’s provocative nature, but that a decision was not solely down to him to sanction.
The league had said in a statement: “Goal celebrations which cause offence, and which are not reflected in the referee's report but can generate tension are totally rejected by the league and, from now on, will be forwarded to the RFEF's competition committee for the appropriate action to be taken.”
It is understood that Espanyol had not reported the incident, but had complained about the defender calling them Espanyol from Cornella (the area in which their stadium is located) rather than Espanyol from Barcelona – which is their official title.
Regardless, Pique will be relieved that he has escaped a ban and can now concentrate on his football as Blaugrana are challenging on all fronts rather than be concerned and distracted by matters off the pitch.