Xavi Hernandez and Pep Guardiola have reacted to the decision of Gerard Pique to retire from football.
Gerard Pique announced his retirement from football on Thursday, October 4, to the shock of football fans across the world.
Pique stated that Saturday’s La Liga game against Almeria would be his final game at Camp Nou as he prepares to retire after next week’s league clash with Osasuna.
The news shocked even the closest of Gerard Pique’s allies, including his Barcelona teammate and management.
Although logical issues of age may play a role, Gerard Pique’s decision to retire is contingent on his current situation at Barcelona.
Reacting to the news of his retirement, Xavi Hernandez has said he absolutely understands the resolve of Gerard Pique to hand in the boot finally.
Pique has made 615 appearances for Barcelona during a highly-successful career.
The 35-year-old will now be hoping to feature twice more against Almeria and Osasuna before saying goodbye to the club.
Grilled on his player and former teammate’s retirement, Xavi paid tribute to the legendary and experienced center-back.
He said Barcelona will try to win the match against Almeria and Osasuna to honor and also pay final tributes to Gerard Pique
“We will try to get the three points and keep the pressure on Real Madrid. This is also a special match for Pique, to whom we will give all our love,” he said.
He further stated he understands Gerard Pique’s situation because he has been through it himself. Xavi wished his former teammate and player well in his future endeavors.
While lavishing praise on Gerard Pique for his legendary contribution to Barcelona and Spain national team, it is pertinent to note that Gerard Pique’s decision to retire is not far from his difficult moments since Xavi assumed position as Barcelona manager.
However, Xavi added that he spoke to Gerard Pique at the beginning of the season concerning his difficulties in a crucial moment of his coaching career.
“I had a chat with Pique before the start of the season, it was a private conversation. Talking to him was one of the most difficult moments of my coaching career”, he said.
Xavi blamed himself as manager of the club for Gerard Pique’s reduced minutes in the team.
He, however asserts that he had take some ‘difficult decisions’ for the ‘interest of the club.’
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola reacts
Also reacting to the imminent retirement of Gerard Pique is his former manager and Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola said Gerard Pique is a top defender with the ability to rise to the big occasions and deliver results.
“I wish him the best personally, and my affection to him. A player for the big games. He’d never miss one, or perform badly at the highest level against the top.”
Guardiola managed Pique for four years at Barcelona which was one of the most successful and decorated periods in the club’s history.
In 2009, the team wrote themselves into the annals of football history forever: the Catalan giants won an unprecedented six trophies- all the possible titles they could have won.
Why Gerard Pique announced imminent retirement
Apart from age, pundits have hinted on a series of reasons that have warranted Gerard Pique to retire.
His struggle for playing time under Xavi Hernandez is said to be a factor. Pique has appeared only five times in the starting lineup for Barcelona this season.
His marital struggles with his estranged wife, Shakira, may also be a factor, including his age and ambitions.
Born on 2 February, 1987 in Barcelona Spain and considered as one of the best defenders in the world, Gerard Pique is a professional footballer, who plays as a center-back for La Liga club Barcelona and Spain national team.
Pique started his youth career in 1997 at Barcelona, and played for seven years before joining Manchester United youth team in 2004.
He made his first senior appearance for Manchester United in 2004, and played for the Red Devils for four years, making just 12 appearances.
He was sent on a season-long loan deal to Real Zaragosa in 2007, where he made 22 appearances, scoring 2 goals.
In 2008, Gerard Pique joined Barcelona and has made 396 appearances for the club, scoring 29 goals.
Gerard Pique made his debut for Spain national team in 2008, and has went ahead to win 102 caps with the team, scoring 5 goals.
He has won all major trophies in the La Liga, including the Premier League title with Manchester United. He has also won the World Cup, Euros, and the Confederation cup with Spain.