We’ve been banging on for years about Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique’s secret friendship.
Few of you heard us out with most reminding us about the dozen or so occasions where they have publicly clashed.
But for us their rivalry has always been something of a pantomime act.
As Spain’s two superstar centre-backs the pair have played alongside each other many times and forged a mutual respect in the process — though neither would be quick to admit it.
Ramos has allowed his mild fondness for Pique to rear its head in public by asking the Bernabeu crowd not to boo the Barcelona defender.
Spain are set to play Italy in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Real Madrid’s back garden and Ramos has urged fans to get behind every member of the squad.
Speaking to reporters, he said: “To Pique or to anybody else you must always respect the players.
“I ask the fans to support us, it will be a tense and difficult match.”
Pique is accustomed to an inhospitable welcome at the Bernabeu because of his fierce loyalty to Barcelona and Catalonia.
Shakira’s worse half rarely misses an opportunity to laugh at Madrid’s expense and as a result he has been subjected to boos and jeers from his own fans when playing for Spain in recent years.
Somehow we think Ramos’ request may fall on deaf ears.
The other engaging narrative of Spain and Italy’s qualifier is the return of David Villa to the international fold.
Spain’s all-time leading scorer has earned a recall aged 35 after racking up 19 goals in MLS so far this season.
Villa has not played for Spain since the 2014 World Cup but will be hoping to add to his tally of 59 international goals.
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