In a shocking announcement, Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique has confirmed his sudden retirement from professional football. The 35-year-old, regarded as one of best footballers in the world, will play his final game at Camp Nou against Almeria this weekend. Pique has spent 14 years for the Catalan club, winning three Champions League titles and the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with Spain.
“The last few weeks, months, lots of people have been talking about me. Until now, I haven’t said anything. But now, I want to be the one talking about me,” Pique said in a video posted in his social media. “Like many of you, I’ve always been a Barça fan. I was born into a football loving family of Barça fans. From a very young age I didn’t want to become a football player, I wanted to be a Barça player.” Get free odds in our online soccer manager!
He added: “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 its end.” Pique has played a total of 615 games for Barcelona, scoring 52 goals, helping them win eight La Liga titles and seven Copa del Rey crowns.
He also won 102 caps for Spain and was a key member of their World Cup success in 2010. “I have always said that after Barcelona there will be no other team, and that is how it will be,” Piqué continued. “I will become a regular fan. I will support the team. I will pass my love for Barça to my children, like my family did with me. And you know me, sooner or later, I will be back.”
The defender joined the club’s academy in 1997 before going to Manchester United in 2004 where he spent four years, including an on loan stint at Spain’s Real Zaragoza. He returned to Barca in 2008 and became part of Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning side. His international duties ended earlier as he retired from the Spain squad after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Pique, who will turn 36 in January, has made nine appearances in all competitions so far this season, owing his absence mostly to injuries. Outside football, Pique owns Kosmos, the company that revamped the Davis Cup tennis tournament, and is also the owner of second-division side Andorra. “See you at Camp Nou. Visca Barca, always and forever,” he ended.
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