Barcelona are hoping Gerard Pique ‘keeps his word’ after saying he would quit if he was not needed
Barcelona ‘hope Gerard Pique keeps his word’ and retires from professional football, rather than accept a place as a substitute.
The arrivals of Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde this summer, coupled with the emergence of young defenders Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo, have big posed question marks over where Pique fits into Xavi’s starting line-up.
According to Sport, the Blaugrana are hopeful that Pique could alleviate some pressure on their financial situation, claiming the feeling at Barcelona is: ‘Let’s see if he keeps his word.’
The 35-year-old’s contract will officially end in June 2024 and his situation may be compounded further by Barcelona’s recent financial issues, with the club’s economic Vice President recently claiming the club needed £438 million to save the club.
Pique’s salary currently makes a big dent in their coffers, with data from Capology suggesting that the Barcelona captain currently sits at the top of their wage pyramid on £45m per year.
The Spanish international has also previously stated that he would never want to play for another club or even sit on the bench at Barcelona despite having only started one game in La Liga this season, with Christensen and Kounde arriving to become Xavi’s first choice defensive partnership.
But it’s clear Pique is a one-club-man, having previously said, following Barcelona’s 8-2 hammering in the Champions League quarter-finals to Bayern Munich in 2020: ‘We’ve hit rock bottom with Barca. If I have to leave for new blood to come, I’m leaving.’
Pique also said in 2021: ‘If Koeman tells me tomorrow that I have to leave, I’ll quit football. I’m not going to play in any team other than Barça,’ and ‘I will retire at Barça, but never as a substitute.’
Born in Barcelona, the Catalonian joined the club as a youth player, rising through the academy at La Masia, before joining Manchester United in 2004.
He spent four years at the club, going on loan to Real Zaragoza for a season, before returning to Barcelona, where he has since made 658 appearances, scoring 58 times for the Spanish giants.
Pique is fifth on Barcelona’s all-time leading appearances list, but missed much of the end of last season thanks to an soft tissue injury that left Xavi no other choice but to reinforce his defensive stocks over the summer.