In his farewell Nou Camp appearance for Barcelona, Gerard Pique received an emotional standing ovation as they defeated Almeria 2-0 in La Liga.
After being replaced in the 84th minute, he sobbed as he embraced each member of his team before exiting the field to do the same for coach Xavi and the entire Barca bench.
After Tuesday’s trip to Osasuna, the 35-year-old will retire, albeit it’s uncertain whether he’ll take the field.
Several people paid him tribute on his final night at the Nou Camp.
All of Pique’s squad members were wearing shirts with his name and the number three on the back as he entered the field as captain, accompanied by his two sons.
A large banner on the field read “Sempr3” (For3ver), and a video honoring Pique’s career was shown to the crowd on a large screen.
Barcelona’s supporters chanted for Pique to take the penalty when they won a first-half penalty. Robert Lewandowski, who stepped up and struck the post, was the one the Spaniard was pointing towards.
Pique, who led Barcelona with 53 goals, had two attempts blocked by Fernando Martinez. He also headed one over the bar.
Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga with goals in the second half from Ousmane Demble and Frenkie de Jong.
Pique was thrown into the air by his teammates when he returned to the field after the game’s conclusion to applaud the spectators.
Despite having 18 months left on his contract, the former Spain defender made his choice on Thursday, and his departure will lower Barcelona’s wage costs.
Pique joined Barcelona in 2008 from Manchester United and played in 616 games while contributing 30 titles to the team.
According to reports, Barcelona put pressure on Pique to leave in order to solve their financial problems. Even though he only played 10 times this season, he was their fifth-choice center defender.
Pique owns the Spanish second division team FC Andorra in addition to his other commercial ventures.
Pique played the fifth-most games of any Barcelona player, behind current Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets (694) and manager Xavi Hernandez (767), both of whom were teammates at one point or another (674).
Pique has more trophies for Barcelona than only Messi (35) and Iniesta (32).
Additionally, Spain’s 2010 World Cup and 2012 Euro 2012 victories featured Gerard Pique Pique. Only 13 players have made 100 appearances for La Roja, and he is one of them with 102 caps before his international retirement in 2018.
He played 23 times and spent time on loan with Real Zaragoza when he began his senior career at Manchester United.
He made 13 first-team appearances in 2007-08 as United won the Community Shield, Premier League and Champions League – before going back to Barca four years after leaving their youth set-up. Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague told the BBC Euro Leagues show: “He won everything. Dreams came true for that kid who wanted to be massive at Barcelona, and he has been. “He was absolutely key to all those victories under Pep Guardiola. Tito Vilanova said things wouldn’t have happened for that team if Pique hadn’t been there. “It is all down to his personality, he is a winner.
He is familiar with Barcelona’s past. Most of their main stars have unhappy endings. When Pique and I arrived, there were numerous tales about the money he was costing the team. Before he became a full-fledged evil, he said, “I’ll leave now.”
He wanted to be a Barca player, and his goal came true, according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who oversaw Pique for four years while he played for Barca.
He has a large personality, excels in big games, and has never missed. These players are necessary for the major clubs. My position as his manager was an honor.