Barcelona legend Gerard Piqué to retire from football

The 35-year-old defender won eight La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues during his time at the club.

Piqué scored 52 goals in 615 appearances for Barcelona [File: Marcelo Del Pozo/Reuters]
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Gerard Piqué, the legendary 35-year-old Barcelona defender, says he will retire from football when Spain’s La Liga goes on a break for the Qatar World Cup later this month.

“Football has given me everything; Barcelona has given me everything. You cules [Barcelona fans] have given me everything, the Spaniard said on Thursday in a heartfelt social media post that included a montage of clips from his childhood.

Piqué has long been an integral player at Barcelona, winning La Liga eight times and picking up three Champions League titles in more than 600 appearances at the Catalan club.

The defender came through the club’s renowned La Masia academy, which has produced the likes of Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and current Barcelona manager Xavi.

In 2004, he moved to Manchester United, where he won the Premier League and Champions League before returning to his boyhood club in 2008.

Piqué would make 183 appearances during Pep Guardiola’s time at the club, establishing himself as one of the world’s best defenders.

He would also cement himself as a key player for Spain, winning the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championships. Eventually, he retired from the national team after the 2018 World Cup, where he made his 100th appearance.

This season Piqué has found himself out of Barcelona’s first team after the club brought in Marcos Alonso and Jules Koundé.

His recent performances have also been singled out for criticism, especially during Barcelona’s 3-3 draw against Inter Milan in the Champions League.

Piqué took a voluntary pay cut last year to help with the club’s financial woes and is expected to return to the club in a non-footballing capacity.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA