Barcelona defender Gerard Pique: Players need the media less than ever

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has said players and their clubs do not need the media as much as they once did.

The rise of social media and self-publishing has meant footballers no longer rely on traditional media to put out a message.

Barca toyed with the idea of moving players' commitments -- apart from obligations to deal with television rights holders -- in house last month and prevent outside publications from speaking to them.

"As a profession, we're using the media less and less all the time," Pique said in an interview with Panenka magazine.

"If you look at the biggest players in La Liga, some have more users than the media. Marca, for example, is the most read newspaper in Spain.

"How many Twitter followers do they have? More than four million? There are players with more than that.

"Players do still need the media to make good content, to transmit messages... there are still a lot of people that consume press in a traditional way, so it's important to keep dealing with the media that do things the right way."

Pique said a small part of the media had eroded trust by "inventing, imagining and creating stories."

He added: "Immediacy, right now, comes before the truth. That order is one of the problems for journalism.

"There are always people that would prefer to be the first than to check the news. If they play that game, sometimes they get it right -- but if they get it wrong, it's quickly forgotten.

"Sadly, that's how journalism works. Journalism as a profession has to try and position itself against those that cause the problems.

"I don't want to blame journalism because there are people who have treated me well, but they must take the first step.

"If they can clean up the tabloid press, I think it would break down barriers that currently separate clubs, players and journalists."

Pique is one of the leading players when it comes to creating his own content, regularly interacting with fans on Periscope and Facebook and a keen Twitter user.

When Real Madrid fielded the suspended Denis Cheryshev in the Copa del Rey last season against Cadiz, the 29-year-old posted a tweet comprising of laughing emojis.

He said: "Yes, I know when I'm sending an explosive tweet. Above all, you have to look for the perfect moment.

"You put some emojis at the moment when people know you are watching something, a game for example, and without even writing a word people know what you're getting at.

"Normally I never put the brakes on when it comes to posting tweets. I'm not afraid of the reactions. What people say bothers me less all the time."