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JUST IN: Xavi hails Barcelona legend Gerard Pique ahead of retirement

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Barcelona boss Xavi was almost lost for words in his praise of Gerard Pique ahead of his Camp Nou finale.

Pique announced his shock retirement decision yesterday, with the former Spanish international set to play his final professional game tomorrow, at home to Almeria.

The veteran centre back has endured a difficult start to the 2022/23 season with the club hinting at their reluctance to extend his contract beyond 2023.

However, despite the issues in recent weeks, Xavi was quick to remind fans of Pique’s incredible legacy in Catalonia.

After returning to his boyhood club from Manchester United in 2008, the 35-year-old has racked up 615 appearances for Barcelona, putting him fifth on the club’s all time list.

He won eight La Liga titles, including five alongside Xavi as a teammate, plus a world and European title with La Roja, and three Champions Leagues.

“Pique is one of the best centre-backs in the history of football”, as per reports from Marca.

“He is a role model to the team and a great professional.

“Pique deserves all of the praise he will receive from the culers.

“He deserves all the praise and recognition. He deserves the best and for Barca fans to honour him for what he is – a legend””

Pique is expected to start in his final game against Almeria, with Xavi set to withdraw him in the second period, to allow for an ovation from the home fans.

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