Why is pique leaving barcelona ? Gerard Piqué has explained the reasons why he decided to retire from football in the middle of the season. The former Barcelona defender, in an interview on RAC1, also addressed the ‘Negreira case’, said that he still maintains contact with some of his former teammates and assured that he does not miss the dynamics of a footballer’s life.
“I retired because I had already said that when I didn’t enjoy it and didn’t feel important, I would quit,” he said. “I didn’t feel as important as I had felt throughout my career. It was a complicated last few months.
“If I felt cheated? I won’t go into that because I don’t think it’s my place, but I think I earned the option to choose my end and it was given to me. In that sense, I’m happy. I think it was the healthiest thing for everyone, for me and for the team.”
Piqué announced his retirement from the pitch on Nov. 3 2022, in the middle of the 2022/23 season.
He added: “I’m not nostalgic because you realise what you’ve missed before; now I have more time than before, and the truth is that I’m doing very well. I watch Barça when I can, but I don’t miss it. It’s a whole new life.”
Gerard returned to Camp Nou for the Barça-Manchester United game “with Milan (his son), because he was very excited, and I freaked out, to be able to go with my son to the football. It’s something I’ve missed all my life, the feeling of going with your son to football, and we had a great time.”
Piqué considered that Barça are in a very good position to win the league, “not conceding many goals, which is very important because to win the league you need consistency, beating the records of Depor and Atlético, I think we are the favourites and I think we will achieve it.”
On whether he feels if the titles would be his, if won, as well, he said “in part, although I don’t know if they would give it to me or not (the recognition of the title), but I would be happy for what it would mean for the club at a time when it is difficult to win, to win the league.
His promise to himself
To understand Pique’s departure from Barcelona, it’s important to focus on an interview the centre-back gave with El Pais in October 2021.
“Of course I’m getting older and when I see that I am not as important as I have always been, I will go,” he said. “I won’t be the fastest, but I can compete against the best and not feel inferior. As long as it’s like that, I’ll play.
“I will retire at Barça. That is certain. What I will not accept is to retire as a substitute. Let’s see, if it’s the last three months of a season and it’s my turn to sit out, that’s different. But a whole year on the bench? No, I don’t feel like it.”
Lack of minutes
Pique’s willingness to retire if his role started to diminish was tested in the summer of 2022 as manager Xavi made it clear to the veteran that he would not be a core part of his squad going forward.
Jules Kounde was an expensive arrival, Andreas Christensen arrived on a free transfer and Ronald Araujo had already established himself as the new leader of Barcelona’s defence.
Pique was firmly down in the pecking order, with Eric Garcia also ahead of him, and the situation was made perfectly clear in October 2022’s 1-0 win over Valencia, in which Marcos Alonso was brought off the bench as a centre-back ahead of Pique.
The 35-year-old was now evidently the sixth choice in his position, and his insistance that he would not sit on the bench all year came into focus.
In the background of Pique’s playing situation is Barcelona’s perilous finances. The Blaugrana are desperately trying to trim their wage budget and have been asking players left, right and centre to take wage cuts.
The situation with Pique is a special one as the centre-back, whose contract was due to run until 2024. was actually the highest earner at the club. Reports have suggested Pique’s salary sat at the £425,000-a-week mark.
Those in charge at Camp Nou were, understandably, unhappy to be paying so much money to a player who was not even close to the starting lineup, and pressure was put on the centre-back to agree to a significant wage drop.
While rumours that Barcelona were praying for Pique’s retirement were never verified, they came as no surprise. Barcelona were desperate to trim their wage bill, and by stepping aside, Pique has taken an enormous chunk away.
Pique’s lack of minutes
Pique was the fifth-choice centre-back in his team this year, behind Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia, Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde, and his coach did not count on him much at all.
Only injuries to all his teammates have meant that the Catalan has had minutes so far this season, otherwise he would not have had any.
Between LaLiga Santander and the Champions League, he has played nine matches, amassing a total of 555 minutes.
In the few matches he has played, the central defender has struggled, committing numerous blunders, something that even provoked the whistling of his fans.
Xavi already told him that it would be difficult to break into the team, but Pique wanted to try. Now he has seen that he has not been able to.
Pique’s marital struggles
His recent split with Shakira has not helped the footballer’s situation. His alleged infidelity and subsequent relationship with Clara Chia has put his personal life in the headlines.
Shakira has already composed two songs that seem to criticize him.
Furthermore, the custody battle over their children has hurt Pique.
If Shakira finally goes to live permanently in the United States, Pique would not be able to see his children, which is something that hurts him deeply.
His family is above all else and he is not willing to be away from them just to stay and play in Barcelona.
The club wanted him to leave
The criticism that Pique received in the match that Barcelona played against Inter was one of the triggers.
The central defender did not expect this big blow and was disappointed with both the fans and the club.
Many of the comments came from the club, because they wanted him to leave due to the large salary he earns and to leave salary space for further new signings.
Faced with this, Pique personally informed Joan Laporta that he wanted to leave the club before the situation got any worse.
His burgeoning business empire
In addition to his football, Pique’s burgeoning business empire has recently taken his focus away from the pitch.
He organized the Davis Cup while his team was playing, something that did not please the fans, and he has been investing in various other companies.
In his farewell video he says that “sooner or later, I’ll be back”, something that brings him very close to the presidential box.
It has been rumored many times that Pique could be president of the club and, after his retirement, anything is possible.
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