Pique relishing Manchester return

Gerard Pique admits “being back in Manchester brings back memories” ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Manchester City.

The La Masia graduate spent four years at City’s arch-rivals Manchester United between 2004 and 2008 but failed to break into the first team and subsequently returned to Catalonia.

However, the defender looked back on his time at Old Trafford with fondness, revealing his association with the Red Devils made him treat Tuesday’s match with extra significance.

“[Being back in Manchester] brings back memories as I lived here for three years. The people are great, enjoy football with exemplary passion,” the centre-back told reporters.

“I was at a club, who historically are one of the top three in the world, so it’s always good to beat Manchester United’s rivals.

“Yaya is a very important player, he was [important] when he was [at Barca] and he’s shown himself to be a much more attacking presence at City.

“I’ve seen the difference between when he plays and when he doesn’t play.

“I think [David Silva] is their most dominating player, in the sense that he can pick the ball up in midfield, create chances, dribble and score.

“He’s a top player. I know him from the national team and when I was at Valencia. His technical quality is indisputable. We must be aware of him.

“We’re talking about two of the best midfielders in the world [in Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano].

“They’re different as one is more tactical and positional and has the best first touch in the world. The other has a capacity to defend, run and press like no other.”

Tags David Silva Gerard Pique Manchester City Manchester United Yaya Toure