Barcelona and Spain legend Gerard Pique surprised the football world by announcing his retirement when La Liga stops for World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
The 35-year-old centre-half – who began his senior football career with Manchester United – has won nearly every trophy in football he has competed for during a distinguished career.
The Sporting News breaks down Pique’s shock decision and explains why he has hung up the boots after 14 years at the Camp Nou.
Why has Gerard Pique has retired from Barcelona?
After a career full of success and trophies, Pique has fallen down the defensive pecking order at Barcelona as father time has caught up with the 35-year-old.
Following the signings of Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde, Pique became the fifth choice central defender under Xavi – also behind Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia.
He still managed to make nine appearances in all competitions this season as Barca have been hit by injuries.
When will Gerard Pique play his final game for Barcelona?
Pique will play his final match at Camp Nou for Barcelona in La Liga against Almeria on Saturday.
The Catalans have one match after that before the World Cup break – at Osasuna next week – but it’s likely Pique will say his farewell to the club at home in the Almeria clash.
Whether Pique starts or not will be up to manager Xavi but he will most likely be a substitute at the minimum.
What will happen with Gerard Pique’s contract?
Pique has a contract with Barcelona until 2023 but according to journalist Fabrizio Romano it will be cancelled by the club after his final game.
This will mean Barcelona will not have to pay his entitlements for the rest of the season.
Following Gerard Piqué’s decision, his contract will be terminated nezt week with immediate effect. He will give up the remainder of his contract until June. 🚨🔵🔴 #Piqué
“Sooner or later, I’ll be back here at Barça”, he added about his future. pic.twitter.com/PFpNKL9hMa
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 3, 2022
What did Gerard Pique say about his retirement?
“The last few weeks, months, people have been talking about me,” Pique said in a video posted across his social media accounts..
“Until now, I have not said anything, but now I want to be the one who is talking about me.
“Like many of you, I have always been a Barcelona fan. I was born into a football-loving family. From a very young age, I did not want to become a footballer, I wanted to play for Barca.
“Recently, I have thought a lot about that kid. If he had been told he would fulfil all his dreams — that he would play for Barca, that he would win every trophy possible, that he would be a European and world champion.
“That he would play with the best players in history, that he would become one of the team’s captains. … Football has given me everything. You, the fans, have given me everything. And now my childhood dreams have been fulfilled, I want to tell you that I’ve decided that now is the time to bring this journey to its end.
“I have always said that after Barcelona there will be no other team, and that is 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 and transmit my love for the club to my kids, like my family did with me. And you know me, sooner or later I will be back. See you at Camp Nou. Visca Barca, always and forever.”
Culers, us he de dir una cosa. pic.twitter.com/k3V919pm1T
— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) November 3, 2022
Will Gerard Pique remain in football after his retirement?
Pique has previously said he has ambition to run for Barcelona president in the future but no official plans have been revealed.
His company Kosmos has recently been charged with overhauling famous tennis competition the Davis Cup.
Pique also owns Spanish second-division club Andorra.
What did Gerard Pique achieve in his football career?
After starting out at Barcelona’s youth academy as a 10-year-old in 1997, Pique joined Manchester United at 17 in 2004 and made 23 appearances across four seasons.
He was a part of the Red Devils squad that won the Premier League and Champions League in 2007-08.
Pique returned to Barcelona where he became established as the club’s first choice centre-back for nearly 14 years – winning 30 trophies across this time.
He won eight La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and seven Copa del Rey trophies among a slew of club honours.
Individually, he was named in UEFA’s team of the year on five occasions.
At international level, he won 102 caps for Spain from 2009 until his international retirement in 2018, lifting the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship in 2012.
He was also selected in team of the tournament at Euro 2012.
Is Gerard Pique still married to Shakira?
As Pique became a household name on the football pitch, his private life also took centre stage as he married superstar Colombian singer Shakira in 2011.
The couple became a power duo in the sports and entertainment scene – having two children together.
In June 2022, Pique and Shakira confirmed in a joint statement that they were separating.