‘It was an HONOUR’: Pep Guardiola pays a heartfelt tribute to Gerard Pique after the Barcelona star’s shock retirement… as the Manchester City boss insists his former player ‘ALWAYS performed at the highest level’
- Barcelona star Gerard Pique is set to play the last game of his career on Saturday
- The defender, 35, announced his shock retirement from football on Thursday
- Pep Guardiola paid tribute to Pique having coached him for four years in Spain
- The Manchester City boss insisted it was an ‘honour’ to work with the Spaniard
- Pique played a key role during Guardiola’s treble-winning campaign in 2008-09
Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to Barcelona star Gerard Pique, who announced his shock retirement from football on Thursday, insisting it ‘was an honour’ to manage the Spaniard during his time at the Nou Camp.
Pique, 35, will bow out after this Saturday’s LaLiga clash between Barcelona and Almeria, which comes in the wake of a few turbulent months that saw him separate from ex-partner Shakira and fall out with the Spanish club over his salary.
Speaking ahead of Manchester City’s Premier League match against Fulham on Saturday, Guardiola admitted it was a shock to hear that the World Cup winner was retiring.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique announced his shock retirement from football on Thursday
Pep Guardiola paid tribute to Pique having coached him at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012
‘It was surprising news,’ Guardiola said. ‘He was here in England at a young age and after he made an incredible career at Barcelona.
‘I wish him all the best. I know his mum and dad, incredible human being – he personality, a player for the big games.
‘He never missed one, always performed in a high level. This is what top clubs need.
‘The future will be bright because he is a smart guy. It was an honour for me to be his manager.’
The Spaniard played an integral role during Guardiola’s treble-winning campaign in 2008-09
His final match at the Nou Camp will mark Pique’s 616th appearance for Barcelona, having moved to the Spanish giants from Manchester United in 2008.
During his time in Catalonia, the defender chalked up eight LaLiga titles, seven Spanish Cups and three Champions League trophies, as well as playing a pivotal role in Guardiola’s treble-winning side during the 2008-09 season.
On the international stage, Pique won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 and went on to claim the European Championship in 2012.
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