Gerard Pique handed four-match ban for insulting referee

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Barcelona has struggled heading into the La Liga season, and now the Catalan club has been handed another setback as Gerard Pique has been suspended four matches by the Spanish Football Federation.

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The center-back was sent off in Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup on Monday after allegedly insulting the linesman while protesting an offside call.

Pique admitted that he was in the wrong for his actions, but denied hurling any insults at the referee. It is reported that Pique had some choice words about the lineman’s mother, which is never acceptable.

With the four-match ban, Pique will miss the start of the La Liga season, which Barcelona opens against Athletic Bilbao this weekend, the same team that just defeated them in the Spanish Super Cup.

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He will also miss Barcelona’s huge early clash with Atletico Madrid on September 12, as Luis Enrique will have to manage without his first-choice center back.

While everyone knows Barcelona’s attack will be free-flowing, the team’s defense has been an issue during the preseason. They have conceded nine goals in their past three matches, and now must begin the season without their starting center-back over the past seven seasons.