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Gerard Pique announces he will retire after Barcelona's match with Almeria this weekend

Rory O'Callaghan

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Gerard Pique announces he will retire after Barcelona's match with Almeria this weekend

Barcelona legend Gerard Pique has announced he is retiring from professional football after Saturday's La Liga match against Almeria.

Pique is viewed as one of the greatest defenders in the Catalan club's illustrious history.

The 35-year-old has made 615 appearances for Barcelona since rejoining the club from Manchester United in 2008.

He has gone on to win numerous trophies at the Nou Camp including eight La Liga titles and the Champions League three times.

Pique is under contract with Barcelona until the summer of 2024 but has found first-team opportunities hard to come by this season.

He has started just three times in La Liga and has now decided to call time on his career, rather than see out the remainder of his contract.

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Pique announced his decision with a video on social media on Thursday night.

He confirmed that Saturday's match against Almeria at the Nou Camp would be his last for his boyhood club.

"Football has given me everything," said Pique, who also won 102 caps for Spain and helped them to victory in the 2010 World Cup.

"Barcelona has given me everything. You, culers (Barcelona fans), have given me everything.

"And now that [this] kid's dreams have come true, I want to tell you that I've decided that now is the time to bring this journey to its end."

Reports in Spain earlier this season claimed that cash-strapped Barcelona were hopeful that Pique would retire early rather than see out the remainder of his contract.

He has now decided to call time on his career after 15 seasons as a senior player at the Nou Camp.

"I've always said that there would not be any other team after Barca. And that's how it will be," Pique added.

Barcelona supporters have been quick to offer their thanks to Pique for years of service to the club.

"Thanks for everything Gerard," posted one fan on Twitter.

Pique will retire from professional football this weekend (Image: Alamy)
Pique will retire from professional football this weekend (Image: Alamy)

Another added: "We will miss you very much Gerard, you have been our best centre-back in our history together with Don Carles [Puyol], the stages are over but we will be together again for sure! An honour."

Pique ended his video by hinting at a future return to the club in a non-playing capacity.

"This Saturday's game will be my last at Camp Nou," he said. "I will become a regular fan. I will support the team. I will pass my love for Barcelona to my children.

"And you know me - sooner or later, I'll be back."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Barcelona, Gerard Pique, La Liga, Football

Rory O'Callaghan
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