Barcelona’s Gerard Pique announces sudden retirement

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique announced that he will retire from football at the end of the Spanish league for the World Cup this month.

Pique, 35, says Saturday’s game against Almeria in La Liga will be his last at the Camp Nou for the Catalan club after 14 years in the first team since returning from Manchester United in 2008.

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

Pique said in a video published on social networks: “I have been talked about for weeks.” I have not said anything but I want to speak now.

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

“Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about being younger, wondering what Gerrard would think if I told him he’d fulfill all his dreams, play for Barca and win European and World Champions.

For him to play with the best players, to be the captain of the club… Football has given me everything, Barça has given me everything, you fans have given me everything. And now my childhood dreams have come true. The moment of closing this chapter has come.

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

“Then I will become another fan, I will support the team and I will pass my love for the club on to my children, as they did to me. And you know me, sooner or later I will be back. See you at Camp Nou I see.” Visca Barça, always and forever.”

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

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

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Under Pep Guardiola, he was part of the team that won the treble in 2008-09 and will leave with eight La Liga titles and three Champions League titles, among many trophies.

He also won the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship during his nine-year spell with Spain, making 102 appearances before retiring from international football after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Pique was an ever-present in his first 14 seasons in the first team, but has fallen sharply this year after the signings of centre-backs Andreas Christensen and Jules Conde.

Despite Ronald Araújo and Eric Garcia ahead of him, despite being fifth choice in his position, injuries elsewhere have still allowed him to make nine appearances in all competitions this season.

However, after last month’s 3-3 draw with Inter Milan, when Pique was criticized for using left-back Marcos Alonso opposite him in defense, it prompted him to consider retiring mid-season. be, despite having a contract until the end of the season. 2024.

Barca told Pique in the summer that the final minutes of the season would be tough as they looked to transfer or cut the wages of some veterans, including Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

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Pique, Busquets and Alba have all changed their wages, agreeing to pay cuts and deferrals at various times in recent years to help the club deal with tough financial conditions.

However, with deferred payments, their wages take up a bigger chunk of Barca’s budget compared to the 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 the money he was owed or whether a deal had been reached with Barca.

Pique, who turns 36 in January, currently has other interests outside of football. Through his company Kosmos, he has rebuilt the Davis Cup tennis tournament and also owns the Andorran second division team.

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



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