Barcelona’s Gerard Pique announces sudden retirement

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has announced his retirement from football at the end of the Spanish league for this month’s World Cup.

Pique, 35, says Saturday’s match at the Camp Nou against Almeria in LaLiga will be the first time he has been in the first team for the Catalan club after 14 years since returning from Manchester United in 2008.

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Barca then travel to Osasuna next week for their final game before the World Cup in Qatar.

“I’ve been talked about for weeks,” Pique said in a video posted on social media. “I didn’t say anything but I want to talk now.

“Like many of you, coming from a football family, I have always been a Barcelona fan. I didn’t want to be a footballer, I wanted to play for Barca.

“Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what Gerrard would think if I told him as a child that he would fulfill all his dreams, that he would play for Barca and become a European and world champion.

“That he plays with the best players, that he is the captain of the club. … Football has given me everything, Barca has given me everything, you have given me everything, you have given me everything. Now my Childhood dreams have come true and the time has come to close this chapter.

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“I have always said that there will be no other team after Barcelona and that will be it. Saturday will be my last game at Camp Nou.

“I will become another fan, I will support the team, I will transmit my love for the club to my children, as they did with me. You know me, sooner or later I will be back. See you at the Camp Nou. Visca Barca, always and forever.”

Pique’s grandfather was on the board at Barcelona, ​​and Pique joined the club’s academy in 1997 before moving to Man United in 2004.

After four years in Manchester, which included a season-long loan in Spain with Real Zaragoza and 23 first-team appearances for the English side, he returned to Barca in 2008.

Under Pep Guardiola, he was part of the side that won the treble in the 2008-09 season and will leave having won eight LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues among many other trophies.

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He also won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship in 2012 during a nine-year career with Spain, during which he earned 102 caps before retiring from international football after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Pique was a regular with the first team in his first 14 seasons but has fallen down the pecking order this year following the signings of centre-backs Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde.

Despite being fifth choice in his position, with Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia ahead of him, Pique has still featured in all 9 games this season due to injuries elsewhere.

However, after last month’s 3-3 draw with Inter Milan, Pique came under fire for using left-back Marcos Alonso to cover in front of him, prompting him to consider retiring mid-season despite being under contract. . 2024.

Barca had told Pique in the summer that minutes would be hard to come by this season as they looked to move on or reduce the wages of some veterans, including Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

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Pique, Busquets and Alba have all restructured their wages and agreed to pay cuts and deferrals at various points in recent years to help the club cope with a difficult financial situation.

However, due to deferred payments, their wages take up a bigger chunk of Barca’s budget compared to how many minutes they have played under Xavi this season.

Sources contacted by ESPN could not immediately confirm whether Pique’s retirement meant he had agreed to waive what he was owed or whether a deal had been negotiated with Barca.

Pique, who turns 36 in January, already has a number of other interests outside of football. Through his company Cosmos, he has modernized the Davis Cup tennis tournament and is also the owner of second division Andorra.

He has previously said he plans to run for the Barca presidency after he retires, but in recent years he has suggested that, while that remains an option, it is not something he will definitely pursue.



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