Barcelona and Spain legend Pique to retire aged 35

Barcelona and Spain legend Pique to retire aged 35

Gerard Pique has announced he will retire at the age of 35 and Barcelona’s match against Almeria on Saturday will be his last at Camp Nou.

The defender established himself as a Barca and Spain legend after returning to his homeland from Manchester United in 2008.

Pique has fallen out of favour under Xavi this season and the centre-back on Thursday revealed that he has decided to call time on his illustrious career.

He has won eight LaLiga titles and the Champions League three times during his time with the Catalan giants, while he has also lifted the FIFA Club World Cup on three occasions and the Copa del Rey seven times.

Pique also experienced glory at international level, winning the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship two years later as a key member of a magnificent Spain side.

Former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker, now a television presenter in the UK, wrote on Twitter: “Wishing @3gerardpique the very best of luck in his retirement. One of the giants of our beautiful game. A simply wonderful footballer who won it all. He’ll be missed.”

Pique was booed by Barcelona fans at Camp Nou in the recent 3-0 victory over Villarreal, with head coach Xavi and former team-mate Andres Iniesta both defending him afterwards.

The reason for the negative reaction was believed to be Pique’s refusal to take a pay cut, and he referenced the discussion around him in his announcement.

In a video posted on his social media, Pique said: “The last few weeks, months, lots of people have been talking about me.

“Until now, I haven’t said anything. But now, I want to be the one talking about me.

“Like many of you, I’ve always been a Barca fan. I was born into a football-loving family of Barca fans. From a very young age I didn’t want to become a football player, I wanted to be a Barca player.”