| POP-ROCK sensation Shakira and her Barça player partner Gerard Piqué could have been victims of a 'Big Brother style' spying scandal which has rocked the sports world.
According to Barça FC sources, former trainer Pep Guardiola was so obsessed with keeping tabs on his players in their free time that the head of prison services for Catalunya's regional government, Xavier Martorell, appointed private detective agency Método 3 to watch them 24 hours a day.
Martorell, who has always had a good relationship with Guardiola and Barça's PR director Manel Estiarte, is also under investigation for a political spying case affecting the regional government.
Guardiola is said to have wanted to exert complete control over his players, and in particular wanted to ensure that their partying or social lives would not affect their performance on the pitch.
He would frequently ring players at night to check they were at home.
Whilst the spy scandal affected many players including Deco, Ronaldinho and Eto'o, it was Piqué who came most under fire, particularly after 2010 and especially due to his relationship with Colombian-born star Shakira, who had just come out of an 11-year engagement to former Argentine president's son Antonio de la Rúa when she got together with Piqué at the World Cup.
Reports from Método 3 showed not only the bars Piqué and Shakira went to, but also what the former drank and how much.
The spying mission was uncovered when Piqué himself became suspicious that he and Shakira, who has just given birth to the couple's first child Milan, were being watched.
But Martorell is said to have insisted it was the glossy magazine paparazzi, in order to put Piqué off the scent.