Football has bid farewell to another global superstar after Barcelona legend Gerard Piqué has now officially retired from the beautiful game, appearing for the final time at the Spotify Camp Nou in Barça’s 2-0 win over UD Almería.
Tributes dedicated to one of Catalunya’s favorite sons poured in from all sections in the run-up to his final appearance for his boyhood club, who recently and unexpectedly announced that he was set to retire with immediate effect, ending his 22-year connection with his hometown side.
Video taken of Piqué saying goodbye to fans after full-time showed nothing but emotion for the former Spanish international, who took a lap of honor around the famous ground where he enjoyed so much success in what was one of the best careers the club has ever seen for one of its own.
After receiving his education from the club’s vaunted La Masia academy setup, he left in 2004 for Manchester United, where he only featured on just twelve occasions across four seasons at Old Trafford - which included a 2006-07 loan spell with Real Zaragoza where he featured on 22 occasions - before returning to Barça in the summer of 2008 and set off on a fourteen-year journey at the very pinnacle of the sport in Spain and across Europe.
All told, Piqué won 27 major honors with Barcelona which included eight La Liga titles, seven Copa Del Rey wins, six Spanish Super Cups, three Champions League wins, and three UEFA Super Cup wins.
Piqué also endeared himself to the entire nation when he played a vital role in Spain’s only World Cup win in 2010 while performing a similar vital task two years later at their Euro 2012 triumph.
He now joins Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Dani Alves as former players who helped elevate Barcelona to a whole new level in its history, and no doubt he will go down as one of the club’s - and Spain’s - greatest-ever defenders.