Gerard Pique is reportedly planning to return to Barcelona as the club’s president after announcing his decision to retire from football.
On Thursday evening, the 35-year-old defender posted a video on social media confirming his decision to hang up his boots, and he will make his final appearance for the club in today’s La Liga clash against Almeria at Camp Nou.
“Football has given me everything. Barca has given me everything. You, culers, have given me everything. And now that all that 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,” said the Spaniard.
“I’ve always said there would not be any other team after Barca. And that’s how it will be. 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 Barca to my children, like my family did with me. And you know me. Sooner or later, I’ll be back. I’ll see you at Camp Nou. Visca el Barca. Always.”
Pique has decided to call time on his career despite having 18 months remaining on his contract, and Spanish football expert GuillemBalague, via BBC Sport, claims that the defender is willing to relinquish about €40m (£34.9m) that was due over the remainder of his contract.
Balague claims that Pique was ‘not liked by everyone’ in the Barca dressing room and the defender is now set for some time away from the sport before planning his return to Barca as the club’s president.
“We now say goodbye to a legend who won everything, who has a huge responsibility for the appearance of possibly the best team in the world, and who was his own man in many ways – and not liked by everyone, including in his own changing room,” Balague told BBC Sport.
“Now he will possibly go to the USA, to put his mind and life in order and build for a return – as a president of the club.”
Pique, who owns Spanish second division outfit Andorra, revealed back in 2020 that he would be interested in running for the presidential role at Barcelona in the future.
Speaking to Marca shortly after Josep Maria Bartomeu’s departure as president, Pique said: “In the elections that come now, I’m not able to run because I am still a player and when you’re a player you can’t run for the position, but you never know in the future.
“I am very, very, very cule (connected to Barcelona) as you know. I would like to be able to help the club of my heart in the best way I know how, and that happens because I am very well prepared to serve as president if one day I see that I can really contribute to the club. If not, I would not show up.
“It is something that I will decide in the future, it is a dream of mine that I have always had, but I do not know if it can be carried out in the future.”
Barcelona’s current president is Joan Laporta, who previously held the post from 2003 to 2010 before returning to succeed Bartomeu in March 2021.
Pique, who is widely regarded as one of Barcelona’s greatest defenders, has made a total of 615 appearances for Catalan giants across all competitions, winning 30 trophies including eight La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues.
After featuring 40 times for Barca last season, the defender has since been a peripheral figure under head coach Xavi this campaign, starting only five of his nine appearances across La Liga and the Champions League. – Reuters