Barcelona overturned a first-leg deficit and progressed to the semi-final stages of the Copa del Rey at the expense of local rivals Espanyol last night.
A fairly routine 2-0 win that many may have suspected would be remembered for the long-awaited debut of Philippe Coutinho, reports are today suggesting that two of Barcelona's long-standing players are the subject of an official complaint on behalf of their city rivals.
Objectively appearing quite tame, Espanyol have taken exception with what they deem were a series of comments that "incited violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance" in nature.
Compounded by complaints of offensive chanting from the home supporters in the Camp Nou, Pique's comments were felt to questioned the legitimacy of their chosen name, Espanyol de Barcelona:
It isn't that we suffered so much in this game, but Espanyol de Cornella always make it difficult for us.
The mention of Cornella (a Catalan municipality) didn't pass an inquisitive interviewer by. When questioned why the former Manchester United man had referred to them as such, Pique replied:
Yes, Espanyol de Cornella, they are from Cornella right?
Busquets, a player who made his first appearance for the Catalan giants in 2008, echoed Pique in his usage of this 'alternative' name:
In Cornella it was a more insane game. They celebrated in Cornella as if they had passed the round, but the tie lasts 180 minutes and we put things in their place.
Within the wider community of Catalonia, Espanyol have suggested that comments from the pair were "clearly disrespectful" and "flirted very dangerously with xenophobic attitudes [which] clearly incite violence and intolerance in our sport."
Regarding Busquets' concern for Espanyol's joy after winning the first leg, the club statement read:
In relation to the statements of Mr Busquets, it is inconceivable an athlete declares a rival cannot celebrate a victory, achieved with effort and in a fair fight, like the one that our team got in the first leg of the tie.
Compounding an already frosty relationship that has seen Pique previously subjected to abuse from Barcelona's close rivals, the two sides meet in La Liga on Februrary 4th, and, if nothing else this could be an intriguing attempt of raising the temperature further.