The farewell of Gerard Piqué, the symbol of an era at Barça

Barcelona“I’m a guy with luck”, Gerard Piqué has always defended. At 35 years old, that boy who chased the ball in the playground of La Salle-Bonanova or Sant Guim de Freixenet while dreaming of winning at Barça has succeeded, winner as he is. And now he has decided to hang up his boots before the whistles blow on an impressive record, with a World Cup and four Champions Leagues, among many other trophies. “Sometimes I don’t value enough everything I’ve experienced or do, because you live in a hurry”, Gerard Piqué admitted to ARA in one of those interviews where he made it clear that he was a different person: hyperactive, curious and with a winning mentality global that has not always been understood, in Barcelona. Envied and admired, Piqué has always been a free soul. “What I want is to be happy”, says a man who has been happy as a professional footballer. And it has made a lot of people happy, by the way.

“This Saturday will be my last game at Camp Nou. I will become one more player, I will encourage the team and pass on the love for Barça to my children just as my family did with me”, he explained in an emotional video where he announced that after the World Cup he would no longer play with the Boat. A video in which he has digitized the old VHS tapes he had around the house, where he was seen as a child dressed as Barça. A symbol of what Gerard Piqué is: take the video of him as a four-year-old asking Koeman for an autograph before a Real Sociedad-Barça 1991 to thrill the networks. Piqué joins photos in Meyba shirts with the age of social networks, the Dream Team with Guardiola. It is the history of Barcelona and Barça, where he has become the fifth player in history with the most games played, behind only Leo Messi (778), Xavi (767), Sergio Busquets (694) and Andrés Iniesta ( 674). “I have decided that it is time to close this cycle. I have always said that after Barça there would be no other team. And so it will be”, explains Piqué. Saturday against Almeria will be the last match at the stadium, with tribute included.

In total, Piqué will have spent fourteen seasons in the Barça first team since he made his debut on August 13, 2008 in a Champions League preview match against Wisla from Krakow, with his grandfather Amador Bernabéu in the stands, a of the key people in his life. “A moment in Gerard’s career? The goal he scored in the triumph at the Bernabéu on the day of the 2-6″, recalled Bernabéu, former director of the club, referring to one of the most iconic images of Piqué’s career, when he showed the Barça shirt to the whole madridista stadium “People have been cruel to him at times because he is a unique person, who likes to play”, defends Vicente del Bosque, who led him to Spain’s World Cup in 2010. “When there is someone so unique, it generates debate But I can only dedicate good words to him”, he adds. The defender, however, has not made friends with his sincerity and desire to spoil both Madrid and Espanyol.

Piqué, holder until last year, has seen how one of his adventure companions for many years, Xavi, sent him to the bench just at a time when it had been difficult to maintain good relations with the latest directives when it came to negotiating the way to collect the salary of a contract renewed and deferred from 2020 and that ended in June 2024. Now he renounces to collect what was left. “It will always be a symbol. We had been talking to him about his withdrawal for some time and we left it up to him to decide when to do it”, said Joan Laporta. And now is the time, after playing 615 games and scoring 53 goals since the 2008-2009 season in his debut with Guardiola. Sergio Busquets, therefore, remains as the last survivor of that team. “No one is essential. I am the first to offer to leave if new blood arrives to change this dynamic. We have hit rock bottom”, he had already warned after the 2-8 against Bayern now two seasons ago. “You know me, sooner or later I’ll be back,” warns a man who dreams of presiding over Barça in his farewell video.

Piqué joined the club in 1997, when he was 10 years old. And in grassroots football it coincided with a dream generation, called the generation of 87, which had members who later flooded the Blaugrana fans with joy, especially Messi and Piqué himself. Cesc Fàbregas also played in that team. “He already had the same character, joker and winner. The funniest when he plays, the most serious when needed. It was not good to lose, I always wanted to win”, he remembers. Piqué’s competitive nature made him a key part of Guardiola’s and Vilanova’s team, who had coached him at youth level. Martino, Luis Enrique, Valverde, Setién and Koeman also trusted him, to whom he had asked for an autograph in the distant 1991. Piqué touched the sky dressed as Blaugrana, but he has suffered in recent years, as a partner and as a player , while his business life placed him at the center of moral debates.

The English adventure

In 2004 he went to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, where he played 23 games and scored two goals. “You could see that he had character and talent, but his heart was in Barça and he didn’t have the patience to wait to play with us”, explained the Scot some time ago about an adventure in which Piqué, without playing in the final, was champion of Europe for the first time in 2008 in Moscow against Chelsea. Shortly after, at the age of 21, he returned to Barça called by Pep Guardiola, and quickly left iconic images such as celebrating the 5-0 in Madrid in 2011 showing the five fingers of the hand, the way to celebrate the Champions or the last goal at the Bernabéu in the 2-6 in 2009. But the last photo was the mistake in defense against Inter. It was time to let it go. The footballer Piqué folds, but the entrepreneur will continue and who knows if one day it will be time to try to reach the Camp Nou box office. The adventure continues, but without the football boots.



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