Gerard Pique took the world by surprise on Thursday night when he announced his retirement on social media, three months into the season. He declared that Saturday’s fixture with Almeria would be his last as a player.
It appears it took Barcelona by surprise too. The club were slow to react on social media and while an article was added to the website later on, it took several hours for official statements to come from the club.
Eventually President Joan Laporta spoke to BarcaTV about Pique. Sport carried his comments.
“Pique is part of the Barça badge, he has achieved everything with the club.”
“He will always be an icon for the culers, he has more than demonstrated what he wants from Barça. 25 years he has been linked to the club. It has been an honour to have him as a Barça player.”
The suggestion was that Pique would be giving up the remainder of his salary, in excess of €50m, that he was due over the next two seasons. However Laporta did not seem to think the matter was tied up.
“Pique understands our fair play situation, the wage bill requires an adjustment, he knows that and he is very willing to help the club.”
“The exit agreement is being finalised, but there is a great attitude of the player to help.”
While Laporta suggested that there would be some sort of homage to Pique on Saturday, he was reluctant to be drawn on what.
“We are in the middle of competition, but what we do will be what Gerard feels comfortable with. He has pondered a decision that is always hard to make and we will be at his disposal to carry out the acts that correspond to the departure of such an important person for Barcelona.”
The case of Pique will go down as yet another legend, most recently in the case of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, that Barcelona have failed to bid farewell to in good fashion. His retirement comes midway through the season likely as a result of heavy institutional pressure and criticism.