BARCELONA: Barcelona’s Gerard Pique announced his retirement on Thursday after a decorated career, saying “the moment has come to end this journey”.
“Saturday’s match (against Almeria) will be my last at the Camp Nou,” the 35-year-old posted on Twitter.
The veteran defender bows out with four Champions League titles and the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with Spain.
“I wanted to tell you that I’ve decided the moment has come to end this journey,” he said in a video clip of the star watching images of himself as a small boy wearing the Barcelona shirt, or chasing after autographs.
“There’s no other team after Barca,” he added.
“I’m going to become a super fan, I’ll be supporting the team and pass on my love for Barca to my son.”
“And sooner or later, I’ll be back,” he concluded.
Arriving at the Camp Nou aged 10 Pique left his home city for Manchester United’s academy in 2004, winning a first Champions League trophy under then manager Alex Ferguson in 2008.
He then returned to Catalonia, helping Barca to eight La Liga crowns, seven Copas del Rey and three Champions League titles in 2009, 2011 and 2015.
Pique takes his leave with Barca knocked out of the Champions League for the second season running.
A sporting icon in Spain he had celebrity status too as partner to Colombian singer Shakira.
They met during the filming of the video of Shakira’s 2010 World Cup anthem Waka Waka.
Shakira sang the official song before the 2010 World Cup closing ceremony in South Africa, with Pique’s Spain defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in the final at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium.
The couple, who announced their separation in June, have two children.
Pique has mixed playing with a burgeoning business career, founding the sports events company Kosmos which was behind the revamp of tennis’ Davis Cup.
Kosmos and Pique courted controversy at payment they received for helping arrange the Spanish Super Cup’s move to Saudi Arabia.
BARCELONA: Barcelona legend Gerard Pique bid an emotional farewell in front of the biggest crowd of the season at Camp Nou on Sunday following a dominant 2-0 win by Catalans over Almeria which took them two points clear of Real Madrid at the top LaLiga
Pique received a standing ovation from the crowd when he was substituted in the 84th minute and broke into tears as he fervently hugged his teammates, coach Xavi and the entire Barca bench.
After the final whistle, he was lifted into the air by his companions and performed a lap of honour, blowing kisses to the crowd and waving as they chanted his name.
The 35-year-old defender broke into tears midway through his farewell speech after the game, saying: “I was born here and I will die here.”
“Sometimes you have to leave behind the things you love. The relationship between Barcelona and me has been so loving and so passionate, I thought that maybe we needed a little bit of space. I’m sure that I’ll be back here again in the future” he said.
The retiring player was paid several tributes on his farewell night in the home game as he was named captain of the team and entered the pitch with his two sons while all his team members donned shirts carrying Pique’s name and number on the back.
Pique called time on his stellar career after appearing in 616 games across 15 seasons and won 30 trophies for the Catalan giants
Barcelona were awarded an early penalty and the fans started to chant his name to take it but the Spaniard offered it to Robert Lewandowski, who missed the opportunity and hit the post.
Meanwhile, in another matchday 13 fixture on Saturday, Osasuna held off home team Celta Vigo 2-1 with a brilliant first-half brace from Ezequiel Lavezzi.
At Estadio Jose Zorrilla, home team Valladolid edged past bottom-placed Elche 2-1 thanks to the brilliant strikes by Javi Sanchez and Roque Mesa.
Originally posted 2022-11-06 17:23:52.