‘Manchester a special place for me’

Gerard Pique has reflected on his time in Manchester, as he returns this evening to face City in the Champions League.

Barcelona travel to the Etihad Stadium to play the Citizens in their Last 16 first leg clash tonight.

And the defender has admitted that it is great to be back in his former home, having played for Manchester United before moving back to the Catalan capital.

“Manchester is a very special place for me. I arrived when I was still just a kid, I was 17 and although I would have liked to have played more and been an important member of the side, I learned a lot during my three years here,” he told a Press conference.

“As I have always said, United will always be my second club, after Barça.

“Arsenal were the first club to come for me, the previous year they had signed Cesc but Barcelona weren’t happy about it and blocked my move there.

“Then Manchester United appeared, Alex Ferguson welcomed me with open arms, he convinced me, over dinner to join. For me United is the biggest club in England, at least during the past few years.”

The centre-back then went on to comment on the similarities between the Blaugrana and tonight’s opponents, as well as praising Alvaro Negredo.

“We have had a busy season – we’re top of the table and still alive in the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.

“City are a great side, a very solid side. Both of us will be going into the match in good form, I don’t think temperament will come into it.

“Álvaro is having a great season – he’s always had good seasons but this season, he’s really exploded and he’s scoring lots of goals.

“But City are not just about him – they have a lot of players who can score goals – there’s Yayá, Navas… Being shorter than they are, we will have to beat them in intensity and not allow them to shoot with ease.”

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