I will retire at Barcelona, but never as a substitute.” Those were the words of Barcelona legend Gerard Pique in 2021 last year and so far this season, that is exactly what he has been.
Pique has consistently said that he will step aside and retire if he is not an integral part of the Barcelona side. After losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich in 2020, Pique remarked that “today we hit rock bottom, if new blood has to come in, I will leave.”
Equally last year also hinted at a possible retirement, as per Sport. “If tomorrow [Ronald] Koeman tells me I have to go, I will leave football. I am not going to play in another team that is not Barcelona.”
So far this season Pique has been on the bench for seven of Barcelona’s eight matches this season. His only start came against Cadiz and his only other appearance was ar half-time at home to Viktoria Plzen, as a replacement for the injured Sergi Roberto.
Curiously, it appears some at Barcelona are hoping he will make good on his promise. Sport say that amongst the offices at Camp Nou they would be keen to see him retire and thus forego €52m he is due in salary each season due to successively deferred salary payments. The Blaugrana are set to face another uphill battle to fit within the La Liga salary cap next summer.
While Pique may not be at the height of his powers, it would be symptomatic of Barcelona’s recent inability to bid farewell to their legends on good terms should they try to prompt him into retirement.