Gerard Pique announces retirement; to play final match in Barcelona outfit this Saturday

During a nine-year professional career with Spain, he won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship in 2012.

The FC Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique has announced that he is all set to retire from football when the LaLiga goes into a break for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 this month.

The 35-year-old will play his final match against UD Almeria at Camp Nou. The legendary CB played for the Catalans for 14 years in the first team following his return from Manchester United in 2008. Pique’s grandfather was on the Barcelona board of directors, and he joined the club’s academy in 1997 before leaving for Manchester United in 2004.

After four years in Manchester, including a season-long loan to Real Zaragoza in Spain and 23 first-team performances for the English club, he decided to return to Barcelona in 2008. He was part of the group that won the treble under Pep Guardiola in 2008-09, and he will leave having won eight LaLiga trophies and three UEFA Champions Leagues, among numerous other silverware.

During a nine-year professional career with Spain, he won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship in 2012, earning 102 caps prior to stepping down from international football just after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Pique was a mainstay in the starting team for 14 seasons, but recently he slipped down the chain of importance this season since the arrivals of Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde.

Even with becoming the fifth choice in his role, with Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia ahead of him, Pique has still played nine games this season due to injuries elsewhere.

Nevertheless, following last month’s 3-3 draw with Inter Milan, in which Pique was picked out for scrutiny, left-back Marcos Alonso has been utilized in front of him in defence, provoking him to consider giving up midway through the season despite having an agreement until 2024.

Pique, in a video posted across social media, said, “The last few weeks, months, people have been talking about me. Until now, I have not said anything, but now I want to be the one who is talking about me. Like many of you, I have always been a Barcelona fan. I was born into a football-loving family. From a very young age, I did not want to become a footballer, I wanted to play for Barca.

“Recently, I have thought a lot about that kid. If he had been told he would fulfil all his dreams — that he would play for Barca, that he would win every trophy possible, that he would be a European and world champion. That he would play with the best players in history, that he would become one of the team’s captains. … Football has given me everything. You, the fans, have given me everything. And now my childhood dreams have been fulfilled, I want to tell you that I’ve decided that now is the time to bring this journey to an end.

“I have always said that after Barcelona there will be no other team, and that is how it will be. This Saturday’s game will be my last at Camp Nou. I will become a regular fan, I will support the team and transmit my love for the club to my kids like my family did with me. And you know me, sooner or later I will be back. See you at Camp Nou. Visca Barca, always and forever.”

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