Barca in a Pique with United
By Mark Buckingham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Barcelona have confirmed they are protesting to Fifa about Manchester United's unveiling of defensive starlet Gerard Pique.
The Premiership giants announced on Thursday that the teenager had signed a five-year contract with the club.
Details of the transfer, primarily the fee, were not disclosed with Barcelona feeling aggrieved at the situation.
The Spaniards appear to hint that they have received no compensation for grooming Pique and this has prompted their complaint in Fifa's direction.
Pique has spent the past seven years in Barca's academy and the Catalan club feel they are entitled to some form of remuneration from The Red Devils for their role in the 17-year-old's progress.
Barca president Joan Laporta has confirmed he has sent a letter to put the wheels of complaint in motion and he will not rest until the outcome has fallen in his club's favour.
"We have sent a request to the Spanish Football Federation to ask them to put our case to Fifa and the English Football Association," Laporta told the club's official website.
He added to El Mundo Deportivo: "Manchester have acted in a belligerent manner in this case and have failed to respect the effort that some clubs are making in bringing on young players.
"We are going to see this case through right to the end. This will open up a conflict with Manchester and I don't know how it will end."
Pique, though, believes Barcelona have backed themselves into a corner due to their reluctance to discuss terms with United.
He reportedly told Radio Catalunya: "You can see that Barca don't want to negotiate.
"They say I belong to them but I'm not a slave. If they don't want to negotiate then Fifa will have to decide what United have to pay."
But Barcelona's director of youth Josep Colomer insists Pique's transfer to Old Trafford cannot be ratified until the two clubs reach an accord.
Colomer commented: "Pique belongs to Barcelona at the moment and, until Barca and Man U come to an agreement, he will continue to do so."