After departing the Camp Nou pitch for the final time, Gerard Pique is coming to terms with the end of his career far sooner than he thought he might.
The 35-year-old defender ended last season as the Blaugrana’s first choice centre-back and expected to be able to compete for his spot, in spite of the additions of Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen.
That has not been the case though and Pique only came into the side when injuries necessitated it. Equally there has been a school of thought that his relegation to the bench has been part of move to phase out Pique’s influence.
That certainly seems to be the case for his grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, who felt he still had more to give.
“A great amount of emotion and a very great sadness, it is a mixture of negative and positive feeling, positive for everything that Gerard has done, which has been a lot, it has been an ending that we did not expect, things, sometimes, are forced. I have seen him very happy and negative because he is in a position to continue [playing].”
Bernabeu made his comments to Sport. It was he began taking Pique to Camp Nou and he has coached in La Masia previously too.
“He leaves in a hurry because, due to his personality and way of being, he is not a man for the bench and, after so many years, he is not used to being on the bench.”
He did also hint that there was some sour grapes between Pique and some individuals at the club.
“Pique would never leave FC Barcelona hurt by the club. He is from Barca as we are, the whole family, we have been culés all our lives, Barca is our life and our history. He will never leave Barcelona hurt, people are one thing and another is the club.”
The obvious interpretation is that Pique has been at odds with either manager Xavi Hernandez or President Joan Laporta – if not both. It certainly works out better for them if Pique relinquishes his salary and allows the club to ease their significant wage bill.
As Barcelona-based journalist Joan Fontes is also firmly of the opinion that Pique is not best-pleased with his former teammate and a president he welcomed back to the club with open arms.
Las relaciones de Piqué con Xavi y con Laporta son malas. No escapa a nadie y lo podemos dulcificar como queramos pero es así.
— Dongcast (@JoanFontes) November 5, 2022