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Gerard Piqué

Gerard Piqué, football player
  • Name Piqué
  • Full name Gerard Piqué Bernabéu
  • Date of birth 2 February 1987 (age 37)
  • Birth country Spain
  • Birth place Barcelona
  • Nationality Spain
  • Height 194 cm
  • Weight 85 kg
  • Position Defender
  • Current team Barcelona (retired)


Gerard Pique is a Spanish former professional footballer who was part of teams that won the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2012. He played as a Central defender for Barcelona and the Spanish national team.

He is one of four players who have won the UEFA Champions League two years in a row with different teams, the others being Marcel Desailly, Paulo Sousa and Samuel Eto’o.

He played football from a young age and started his career in 1997 when he entered the Academy of FC Barcelona at the age of ten years. Energetic, focused and talented, he matured into a young player who displayed great potential to be a future football star.

With time, he passed through the various youth levels and was especially skilled at adapting to different positions on the field. He also gained a reputation for scoring goals despite his defensive position, which greatly boosted his professional career.

He made his debut for Manchester United in 2004 as a replacement for John O’Shea. A few years later, Gerard got an offer from FC Barcelona, and it became a turning point in his career. He secured two historic trebles (winning La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League in the same season) in 2009 and 2015.

He also represented Spain 102 times, making his debut in 2009. He was a key figure in their victories at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, before retiring in 2022.

Personal Life

Piqué grew up in a Catalan family. His father, Joan, is a businessman, and his mother, Montserrat, is the Director of the hospital of spinal injuries in Barcelona. He has a younger brother, Mark. His grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, is the former Vice-President of Barcelona.

During the disputed independence referendum in 2017 in Catalonia, he was seen by many as one of the public faces of the Catalan side of the argument, voting and chirping about his support for the Catalan language. Later, he faced backlash from some Spanish fans for his support of a referendum on Catalan independence.

Pop star Shakira and Piqué were partners for over a decade (2011-2022). Their connection began with the music video for “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” the 2010 World Cup anthem, where Piqué made an appearance. They welcomed two sons, Milan (born 2013) and Sasha (born 2015). Unfortunately, their relationship ended in 2022 following reports of Piqué’s infidelity.

Gerard Pique with his former wife Shakira and two kids, Milan and Sasha.

Gerard Pique with his former wife Shakira and two kids, Milan and Sasha.

Club career

Early career

Born in Barcelona, Catalonia, Piqué started his career in FC Barcelona’s youth teams as a defensive card. However, before he signed his first professional contract with the club, he decided to join Manchester United. The Premier League side did not pay a fee for Piqué as he was too young to have a professional contract.

Manchester United (2004-2008)

Young Piqué playing in a Manchester United uniform.

Young Piqué playing in a Manchester United uniform.

Piqué made his debut for Manchester United in October 2004, as a centre-back, a 67th-minute replacement for John O’Shea in a 3-0 League Cup victory at Crewe Alexandra. He made his full debut in January 2005 in a 0-0 draw with Exeter City.

He made his Premier League debut on 15 October 2005, again as a substitute for O’Shea, in a 3-1 win over Sunderland. His first league start came on 29 March 2006 against West Ham United at Old Trafford, playing at right back, as Gary Neville was unavailable through injury.

Loan Move to Zaragoza and Return to Manchester (2006-2007)

His performances, most notably in the reserve team, earned him a new contract, which he signed in February 2005 to run until the summer of 2009. On 4 August 2006, however, La Liga secured Piqué on a season-long loan. The conditions of the loan involved Piqué having to feature in at least 20 games for the Aragonese club, which he did, as he made 22 first-team appearances in a successful spell, alongside Argentine Gabriel Milito, either as a centre-back or a defensive card.

On 5 May 2007, it was announced that Piqué would be staying at Old Trafford for the following season. Sir Alex Ferguson intended to assess Piqué’s form at La Romareda on 6 May, before a meeting where the two parties would discuss Piqué’s future prospects with the club. However, Ferguson was unable to attend on account of airline difficulties.

Final Season at United (2007-2008)

Piqué’s return to Old Trafford saw him make nine league appearances during the 2007-08 season. In his first start in the UEFA Champions League, a 4-0 home win against Dynamo Kyiv on 7 November 2007, Piqué scored the first of Manchester United’s four goals in that match.

In doing so, he became the 450th player to score at least one goal for the club. His second goal for the club also came in the Champions League, in an away match to Roma on 12 December 2007.

Return to Barcelona: Pique’s Treble and Sextuple (2008-2022)

Former football player Gerard Piqué playing for Barcelona

Former football player Gerard Piqué playing for Barcelona

On 27 May 2008, Piqué signed a four-year contract with Barcelona, with a €5 million buy-out clause. Barcelona paid the fee and he expressed his joy at re-signing with his boyhood club, although he admitted he had enjoyed his spell at Manchester United:

“I am thrilled to be back. I didn’t think I would be here again, but this is very good for me. Manchester United is a great club, and I enjoyed winning things. To play with world-class players has helped me, and now I want to continue this at Barça”.

Piqué scored his first goal for the club in the 5–2 2008–09 UEFA Champions League group stage victory at Sporting CP on 26 November. His first domestic goal for Barcelona followed two months later, on 29 January 2009, in a Copa del Rey match against Espanyol. It came from a corner kick, which turned out to be the game-winner in a 3–2 win.

On 13 May, Piqué picked up the first trophy of his Barcelona career as he helped his club to a 4–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey Final. On 27 May, he played against his former club, Manchester United, in the 2009 Champions League Final in Rome. Barcelona won 2–0, completing a treble and becoming the first Spanish club to achieve it.

On 19 December 2009, Piqué was part of the Barcelona team when they beat Argentine’s Estudiantes 2–1 in the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup Final to complete an unprecedented sextuple. 

Continued Success as a Captain (2011-2015)

In the following year, on 7 December,  Piqué played his first match for Barcelona as captain. It was marked by a 5–0 victory against Rubin Kazan of Russia in a Champions League group-stage match at Camp Nou. 

On 28 May 2011, he played in his second Champions League Final. Barcelona beat Manchester United 3–1 at Wembley Stadium to lift the UEFA Champions League for the second time in three years. On 18 December 2011, Gerard Piqué started in Barcelona’s 4–0 victory against Brazilian club Santos in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup Final at Yokohama, Japan.

A Historic Double Treble and a Fitting Farewell (2015-2022)

On 6 June 2015, Piqué started for the club in the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final, as Barcelona won its fifth European Cup/Champions League title. They defeated Juventus 3–1 in Berlin.

It resulted in a historic landmark, making Barcelona the first club in history to win the treble of domestic league, domestic cup, and European Cup twice. Piqué was part of the squad both times. 

On 3 November 2022, Gerard Piqué announced he would retire following Barcelona’s La Liga game against Almería. Starting as captain, he was substituted off to a standing ovation in the 84th minute as Barcelona won 2–0.

The Barça players wore special shirts for the game with “SEMPR3” printed on the front and Piqué’s name and number on the back. The word “sempre” stands for “always” in Catalan. Spain’s La Liga president Javier Tebas said he did not doubt that Piqué may become Barcelona’s president someday.

Though included as a substitute for Barcelona’s final match before the World Cup against Osasuna on 8 November 2022, Piqué never saw the pitch. He was ejected with a red card at halftime after a heated exchange with the referee regarding a second yellow card issued to his teammate, Robert Lewandowski, earlier in the first half.

National career

Youth Teams

Piqué was a member of the Spain under-19 side that won the 2006 UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Poland. In a 2-1 final win against Scotland, Piqué put in a strong performance in defence, hitting the crossbar with a header and also providing his team’s second goal for striker Alberto Bueno.

Subsequently, he played in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, starting all six of Spain’s matches and scoring a goal in the team’s come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Brazil in the round of 16. However, Piqué missed the deciding penalty in the shoot-out against the Czech Republic, and Spain was eliminated at the quarter-final stage.

Senior Side (2009-2018)

On 6 February 2009, Piqué was called up to the senior squad for the friendly against England on 11 February. He played the entire match in a 2-0 win in Seville.

In his second match as an international on 28 March 2009, he was called up as a replacement for injured teammate Carles Puyol, and he scored the only goal in Spain’s victory in the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Turkey at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid. Four days later, he also started in Istanbul in a 2-1 win, also in the group stage.

Piqué made his tournament debut for Spain at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, starting in four of the team’s five matches as La Roja finished in third place. He was Spain’s first-choice centre-back, playing alongside Puyol at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, starting all seven matches as Spain won the tournament, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in the final. Piqué’s partnership with Puyol saw Spain concede only twice in seven World Cup matches and keep four consecutive clean sheets in the knockout stage.

In Spain’s 1-0 group stage defeat to score the only goal of the game, the Swiss striker tumbled over the Spain goalkeeper and accidentally kicked Piqué in the face, knocking him over and leaving him with a nasty cut beside his right eye.

Euro 2012

Piqué played every minute of Spain’s UEFA Euro 2012 campaign, partnering Sergio Ramos in the centre of defence. He successfully converted the team’s third penalty in a semi-final shoot-out win over Portugal.

Gerard Piqué holding the Euro 2012 trophy

Gerard Piqué holding the Euro 2012 trophy.

In the final, Spain recorded a fifth consecutive clean sheet in a 4-0 win over Italy. Piqué was one of three Spanish defenders included in Team of the Tournament, as La Roja conceded only one goal in six matches.

At the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, Piqué was the third of Spain’s seven successful takers in a 7–6 shootout win over Italy at the semi-final stage. On 30 June 2013, he was sent off during the final against Brazil. He received a straight red card in the 68th minute for a violent tackle on recently signed Barcelona teammate Neymar. The match finished 3–0 to Brazil, ending Spain’s world record 29-match unbeaten run in competitive internationals.

Piqué marked his presence in the opening group game of UEFA Euro 2016 with a crucial late goal, securing a narrow 1-0 victory for Spain against the Czech Republic. Two years later, at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he achieved a significant milestone during Spain’s 1-0 win over Iran in the group stage. The match marked his 100th international appearance for his national team.

Retirement Announcement

On 11 August 2018, Piqué made a surprising decision and announced his retirement from international football. A few months after his international retirement, on 25 March 2019, he won his 10th cap for the region in a friendly match against Venezuela and led the team to a 2–1 victory.

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