Gerard Pique has been caught on camera apparently telling Spain coach Vicente del Bosque that Barcelona team-mate Cesc Fabregas is poised to leave the Catalan side.
Fabregas returned to boyhood club Barca in 2011 after an eight-year stint at Arsenal but has now been linked with a move back to the Premier League, with Chelsea and Manchester United reportedly keen to sign the 27-year-old midfielder.
Appearing together at a promotional event in Washington DC, where Spain are preparing the defence of their World Cup crown, centre-back Pique and Del Bosque were recorded apparently discussing Fabregas and a move away from Barca for a fee of €33 million euros (£26.8m).
“He [Fabregas] told me that it is already done,” Pique says.
“He is leaving already, €33m he said,” adds the centre-back, who came through the youth ranks with Fabregas and is a close personal friend.
Del Bosque later told Spanish radio that he was upset the conversation had been recorded and details published.
“I don’t want to comment on anything but it does not seem in good taste to me that this conversation came out,” he told Radio Marca.
“I cannot judge the decisions clubs make,” he added. “He [Fabregas] is a national team player and I must say he is training superbly.”
Fabregas returned to Barca just as Pep Guardiola’s stunningly successful side was starting to lose its lustre.
Since then, he has never fully won over the demanding Nou Camp fans despite scoring and creating plenty of goals.
The Catalan club are trying to rebuild after they ended the 2013-14 season without major silverware and coach Gerardo Martino quit and was replaced by former Barca and Spain midfielder Luis Enrique.