Monday, January 17, 2011

Gerard Pique denies being the cause of pop star Shakira's split

Football star Gerard Pique has denied being the cause of Shakira's split from her boyfriend of 11 years.

The ex-Manchester United defender, 23, has been repeatedly linked to the singer, amid claims they have enjoyed secret dinner dates and romantic breaks.

Shakira, 33, announced her breakup with Antonio de la Rua earlier this week, saying they had actually ended their relationship in August but kept it private until now.

The statement sparked furious rumours that her alleged relationship with Pique was the reason for the separation.

But the World Cup winning footballer - who currently plays for FC Barcelona - insisted: 'We're just friends. There's nothing more to it. I don't know anything about the break-up.

'You lot have just told me about it. We're just friends and that's that.'

The footballer was speaking to reporters at Barcelona airport, as he returned from Zurich where he watched pal Lionel Messi pick up the FIFA Ballon d'Or on Monday night.

Shakira met the footballer last spring while shooting the video to her song Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) - the official track of the 2010 World Cup.

Barcelona-based newspaper El Periodico de Catalunya claimed they have had a string of secret encounters since then.

It said they both spent a night in the seven-room Hotel Atzaro in Ibiza last July. The footballer is said to have arrived and left wearing the same clothes.

The paper also claimed they spent a weekend at a remote country house near the town of Tarrega, 70 miles west of Barcelona.

Last summer they are said to have enjoyed a meal together in the restaurant Raco d'en Cesc in central Barcelona. And in November they reportedly walked together on the beach at the resort of Blanes, 50 miles north of the city.

Shakira has previously dismissed reports of a romance.

At a press conference last month in Barcelona she described the claims as a 'waka-rumour' and added: 'You shouldn't take any notice of waka-rumours.'
Shakira announced her split from De La Rua, son of former Argentine president Fernando de la Rua, on her official website.

The couple said: 'During our almost 11 years together we have loved each other deeply, taken care of each other and stood by one another.

'They have been the most wonderful years of our lives, and thanks to that love and the respect we have shared for one another, we have been an exceptional couple and partners.

'Our friendship and understanding of one another is unwavering and indestructible.'

The couple added that they viewed their separation as temporary, and that de la Rua - who is also Shakira's agent - would continue to oversee the singer's business and career interests.

'We move forward together as partners, developing projects together, working hand in hand and in close communication,' the pair said.

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