Barcelona central defender Gerard Pique has announced his retirement from professional football, stating his final game will be Saturday’s match between Barcelona and Almeria at the Nou Camp. The 35-year-old, who won the Champions League three times and La Liga eight times with his boyhood club Barcelona, revealed the news in a video message posted on social media.
“Football has given me everything. Barcelona has given me everything. You, culers (Barcelona fans), have given me everything. And now that [this] kid’s dreams have come true, I want to tell you that I’ve decided that now is the time to bring this journey to its end,”he said.
The 35-year-old has become a bit player for Barcelona this season, making only five starts. However, the former Manchester United centre-back wants his final club to be his boyhood club, saying:
“I’ve always said that there would not be any other team after Barca and that’s how it will be.”Pique concluded his statement by implying a future non-playing return to the club.
“This Saturday’s game will be my last at Camp Nou. I will become a regular fan. I will support the team. I will pass my love for Barcelona to my children. And you know me – sooner or later, I’ll be back.”
Pique came through the famed La Masia academy but made his United debut in 2004 after moving to Old Trafford as a 17-year-old earlier that year.
He won the League Cup, Premier League, and Champions League under Sir Alex Ferguson, but he only made 23 appearances during his four-year stint in England and eventually returned to Barcelona under the then newly appointed Pep Guardiola.
Following Guardiola’s departure, Pique remained an important member of the Barcelona team, winning 13 major trophies in the 11 years since the manager’s departure.
Pique was also instrumental in Spain’s success, appearing in every minute of the 2010 World Cup final victory over the Netherlands and the 2012 Euros victory over Italy before retiring from international duty after the 2018 World Cup.