Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué shocked the football world this evening by announcing that he intends to retire not at the end of the current season, but in the middle of the current campaign, when the Spanish league is suspended for the World Cup later this month.

Piqué said that Barça’s game against Almería this Saturday will be his last at the Camp Nou, and the trip to Osasuna in three days will be both his last match for the Catalan club and the last match of his professional career. career.

- Advertisement -

The 35-year-old centre-back has made 615 appearances for Barça in a long and distinguished career, becoming one of the most decorated players in history. During this time he has won eight La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey and three Champions Leagues.

- Advertisement -

“I have always said that after Barça there will be no other team and that is the way it will be,” he said in an emotional video message posted online. “Football has given me everything. Barça gave me everything. spoons [fans]gave me everything.”

- Advertisement -

“And now that all my dreams have come true, I want to tell you that I have decided that now is the time to bring this journey to an end.”

Pique’s statement, it would seem, came quite unexpectedly. blue grainto be more precise, social media was quick to react to the astonishing news, although it was Barcelona who were the first to wish him well and thank him for his years of loyal service.

The veteran defender retired from international football in 2018, but only after winning 102 caps for Spain and lifting the Euro 2012 and 2010 World Cup trophies.

And who can forget his great control and finish for Barcelona in the Champions League?

Some of Piqué’s current and former teammates and opponents have appeared in the comments under his video message, with Patrick Kluivert, Fabio Cannavaro, Javier Mascherano and Edgar Davids leaving sincere comments.

“Always on my team,” wrote Ivan Rakitic, who spent several years at Barça alongside Piqué.

It goes without saying that Carles Puyol, Pique’s constant defensive partner at the Camp Nou for many years, also took the time to congratulate his old pal with a tender message.

“Thank you for everything Jeri,” Puyol tweeted.

“I’m shocked […] Few have defended the Barça jersey the way you have. I can always say that playing with you is a privilege. I love you friend.”