Barcelona’s Pique vows to return after tearful farewell

Gerard Pique broke down in tears as he gave an emotional speech after playing his final game at the Camp Nou for Barcelona in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Almeria.

Pique, 35, has vowed to return to the club in some capacity in the future, but said that sometimes loving something so much means knowing when to let it go.

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The Barca-captain defender was in his 616th game for the club against Almeria – 83 minutes before being substituted to a standing ovation – and could play one more game before retiring when Xavi Hernandez’s side face La Liga on Tuesday before the World Cup break. to travel to Osasuna, to do .

“In life, when you get older, sometimes loving means letting go,” Pique said before breaking down in tears in the middle of the Camp Nou pitch after performing a lap of honor.

“A relationship with a lot of love and passion, I think it’s a moment to give ourselves space. That’s why I think it’s the right time to leave, because I love this club.

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“I’m convinced I’ll be back in the future. It’s not goodbye, I left when I was 17. [for Manchester United] And I came back when I was born my grandfather made me a member. I was born here and I will die here.”

92,605 people attended, Barca’s highest attendance since El Clasico 2019 (93,426), to bid farewell to Pique, who won 30 trophies in 14 years with the first team.

Most of his touches were applauded throughout the game, his name was chanted at intervals and the fans even cheered him on for a first-half penalty missed by Robert Lewandowski.

“I didn’t dream of this ending because I never thought about leaving,” Pique later told DAZN of his fans’ amazing behavior.

“I wasn’t thinking about retiring. I always said one more year. But things happen and you have to make decisions. I’ve always been honest with myself. It’s been a really tough six months and today felt liberating. I was able to do that. I wanted to say goodbye.

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“It’s a weight off my shoulders. The last months haven’t been easy. I always compete, play and give it my all, but sometimes it’s lost and sometimes it’s not, as it happens to everyone. It falls. But I’m proud. I go happy.”

After his speech, Pique, who also won a World Cup and European Championship with Spain, shared a moment in the stands with his grandfather, the former Barca manager, before being joined by his two sons. play football field Exiting the tunnel before the race.

When Pique announced his retirement on Thursday, he said he would return, a message he reiterated on Saturday, having previously said he would like to become club president one day.

“Now a range of things have opened up and I have to organize myself a little bit,” added Pique, who currently owns second-tier Andorra and has restructured Davis Cup tennis through his company Kosmos.

“Now it’s time to enjoy my friends and family. After the Osasuna game, I’ll go on vacation for a few days. I’ll be back, but this is the right moment to leave. [from Barca]”

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Barca boss Xavi was delighted to see Pique, who used to play alongside him, get sacked at the Camp Nou.

He said: Everything was great today. “The game, the performance of Pique… he always went on in the big games. A tribute to him. He deserved this farewell.

“It was a historic night for Gerrard. We wanted to send him off in the best possible way. I’ve already told him what a legend he is at Barcelona and how grateful we are for everything he’s done.”

Goals from Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong made it three points in the second half after Lewandowski missed an early penalty. The win moves Barca two points clear of Real Madrid who travel to Rio de Janeiro on Monday.

Xavi added: It was a perfect performance. “I think the difference could have been bigger. The point doesn’t reflect our superiority in the game, but it’s the three points that keep us at the top of the fight.”


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