Gerard Pique’s retirement this weekend brings one of the most distinguished careers in FC Barcelona and Spain footballing history to a conclusion.

Pique won eight LaLiga titles and the UEFA Champions League three times with Barca.

He helped his national team lift their first FIFA World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship two years later.

The Los Cules great has decided to call it quits at the age of 35 after Barca’s next match, against Almeria on Saturday, having turned out for his hometown club over 600 times.

A number of high-profile names have hailed Pique since the announcement, including the likes of Patrick Kluivert and Fabio Cannavaro.

Former centre-back partner Carles Puyol called it a “privilege” to play alongside him.

Pique will retire as a Camp Nou legend, with only four players featuring more times for Barca than his (614).

These are Lionel Messi (778), Xavi (767), Sergio Busquets (694) and Andres Iniesta (674) —- all of whom helped form part of the dominant Barca team in the 2010s alongside Pique.

Pique started in Barca’s youth ranks but left for Manchester United in 2004, where he won the English Premier League (EPL) and UEFA Champions League in the 2007/2008 season.

However, Pique returned to Barca in 2008 and has won 422 of his 614 games in all competitions since.

He lifted 30 titles with the club in what was the most successful period in Barca’s history.

Pique also made his mark at international level, earning 102 caps for Spain between 2009 and 2018 and becoming one of just 13 players to feature 100 or more times for La Roja.

Pique played every minute of the final as they overcame the Netherlands 1-0 after extra time to lift their first World Cup in 2010.

Spain then went on to win the 2012 Euros by routing Italy 4-0 in the final.

He scored five goals for Spain, all against different opponents, including three in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

Only Sergio Ramos (135) made more UEFA Champions League appearances as a defender than Pique (128).

But he scored the joint-most goals for a defender in the competition with Roberto Carlos (16).

Perhaps his best UEFA Champions League season was the 2008/2009 campaign when he finished with the most ball recoveries (90), while only Xavi (967) completed more passes than him (695).

There are just four players with more UEFA Champions League titles — Karim Benzema, Dani Carvajal, Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo — all of whom are on five.(dpa/NAN)

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Source: news