In stunning news, Barcelona center back Gerard Pique has announced his retirement. The 35 year old posted a video on his social media breaking the news.
His final game is set for this weekend when Barcelona take on Almeria at the Camp Nou.
Pique has been under the spotlight this season as he’s spent most of on the bench following the arrivals of Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen.
He’s also been under plenty of scrutiny due to his dip in form when called upon by Xavi Hernandez. He was one of the players singled out following Barcelona’s 3-3 draw against Inter Milan that all but knocked them out of the Champions League.
A player from La Masia, Pique returned from Manchester United back in the 2008/09 season — the first under Pep Guardiola. There he quickly transformed into one of the best defenders in the world, winning everything there was to win in that historic campaign. His partnership alongside Carles Puyol is fondly remembered by Barcelona supporters.
He solidified himself as an undisputed starter under Guardiola and every subsequent manager. He as an integral part of the Spain squad that won the World Cup in 2020. In short, he’s won pretty much everything.
He was the ideal fit for Barcelona’s style of play. While never the fastest, he had great situational awareness — the blip against Inter Milan notwithstanding — as well as the ability to anticipate. His ability to play with the ball at his feet meant he was able to remain a mainstay even after new defenders were brought in.
In essence, a case can be made that Gerard Pique is the best center back Barcelona have ever had. He’s been there through good and bad times. He’s also sacrificed and helped the club off the field.
Age catches up to everyone eventually and he simply couldn’t outrun it this season. Despite the criticism and some whistles from some of the supporters at the Camp Nou, he’ll be remembered as a club legend.
Against Almeria, in his final home game as a Barcelona player, he should be given a proper farewell. He said there would be no other team for him after Barcelona. He’s kept his promise.