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Gerard Pique has further cemented his place as a Barcelona legend this week.
With the club in such a poor place financially, Pique voluntarily agreed a significant pay cut and his gesture mean that new signings Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Rey Manaj were able to be registered for the opening game of the season.
Barcelona hailed the 34-year-old in a statement posted on their website, where they revealed Pique had willingly accepted a much lower salary.
Then, the wonderful narrative was served up on Sunday as Pique opened the scoring - heading home from a Memphis cross in the 4-2 win over Real Sociedad at the Nou Camp.
Gerard Pique scores the first goal of the post-Messi era at Barcelona. Fittingly, he heads home a superb free-kick taken by Memphis Depay, one of the players Barça were able to register thanks to Pique taking a huge pay-cut. Pique President. pic.twitter.com/iJDyc5t5Ch— Alex Brotherton (@alex_brotherton) August 15, 2021
The Blaugrana centre-back contributed hugely on and off the pitch in the past few days and he followed up by giving a superb interview post-match.
Pique, who started out in the Barca academy before leaving and coming back as a first-teamer, opened up about why he made the sacrifice.
"I've always been willing to help the club," Pique said, as per the Daily Mail.
No one should doubt me. I've been here for 10 years, and eight more in the youth squads. This is my home, the club of my life, and I'll always help it."
Pique also confirmed that his fellow senior professionals Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba will soon follow suit.
"It's what had to be done.
"The other captains will do the same soon. Because of a timing issue I had to be the first one so we could register the players. The captains have always intended to make the adjustments needed by the club. We are proud of this decision."
Barcelona are more than £1.1 billion in debut and did not have the financial capacity to register talisman and all-time top goalscorer Lionel Messi, hence his shock exit and subsequent switch to Paris Saint-Germain.
Alba, meanwhile, gave a very strong interview in which he completely denied any talk of him refusing a salary cut that would have resulted in Messi staying.
"Apart from being the best ever, Leo was the one who understood me best, so imagine the efforts I would have made for him to stay," Alba state, as per Goal.
"It's not true [that Messi left because of a pay cut the captains rejected]. The Messi stuff was separate from the captains, between he club and him.
"I can't control everything that's said, but I've been around. Nothing will surprise me. If 10 out of 10 news articles about Jordi Alba are negative, it's normal that people think badly. I can't stand being doubted."
Featured Image Credit: Image: PA
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