Photo credit: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona’s Piqué Announces Sudden Retirement

Barcelona legend Gerard Piqué has announced his retirement from soccer. The Spanish defender will play his final match for the Catalan club Saturday against Almeria.

Pique’s career began in Barcelona’s academy. In 2004, when Pique was just 18, he transferred to Manchester United, where he would stay until 2008. Pique won the Premier League and Champions League that year which was his last with the English Club.

After leaving Man United, Pique moved back to his boyhood club. While at Barcelona, Pique won La Liga eight times, the Champions League three times and three Club World Cups. He also won the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship with the Spanish National Team. The Spaniard totaled 36 trophies in his illustrious career.

“Gerard Piqué will always be a symbol of Barcelona. We’re in the process for financial agreement to terminate the contract – he wants to help the club,” said Barcelona President Joan Laporta, acknowledging the club’s financial situation.

Pique is likely leaving the club, at least in part, to help Barcelona’s financial mess. The past summer saw the Catalan club struggle financially with over $1.2 billion in debt. Barcelona was forced to sell off various media entities and rights to be able to afford new signings and player wages. Pique’s $29 million salary surely did not help this figure, hence his retirement to assist the club.

Pique’s Announcement

Pique announced his retirement via a post put out across his social media platforms, including his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

“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 fulfill 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,” said Pique in his announcement.

“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,” said Pique.

In the announcement video, the Spanish legend also looked at the Barcelona President’s podium and said “sooner or later I will be back,” hinting at a future in the club’s front office.

Piqué will become Barcelona president one day, no doubt. I think he’s going to be a great president,” said La Liga President Javier Tebas.

About Connor O'Bryan

Connor O'Bryan is a world soccer reporter for ESPN Gainesville. He also sometimes covers baseball and other sports. He has previously written for WUFT Gainesville and for Atrium Magazine. Connor also cohosts the "Off The Bar Podcast", a student driven podcast that focuses on the global soccer landscape.

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