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Gerard Piqué Bernabeu (Catalan: [ʒəˈɾaɾt piˈke βəɾnəˈβew], Spanish: [ɟʝeˈɾaɾ piˈke βeɾnaˈβeu]; born 2 February 1987) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Barcelona and the Catalonia national team.

Gerard Piqué
Gerard Piqué in 2018.jpg
Piqué with Spain at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name Gerard Piqué Bernabeu[1]
Date of birth (1987-02-02) 2 February 1987 (age 32)[2]
Place of birth Barcelona, Spain
Height 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)[3]
Playing position Centre-back
Club information
Current team
Barcelona
Number 3
Youth career
1997–2004 Barcelona
2004 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2008 Manchester United 12 (0)
2006–2007Zaragoza (loan) 22 (2)
2008– Barcelona 311 (27)
National team
2002–2003 Spain U16 7 (2)
2004 Spain U17 8 (3)
2006 Spain U19 8 (3)
2007 Spain U20 5 (1)
2006–2008 Spain U21 12 (1)
2009–2018 Spain 102 (5)
2004– Catalonia 10 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:30, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:55, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

Piqué joined Manchester United academy in 2004, where he remained for four years. He returned to Barça under Pep Guardiola's leadership, and helped the club win trebles in 2008–09 and 2014–15. He is one of four players to 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.[4]

Piqué has also represented Spain 102 times, making his debut on 11 February 2009. He played an integral role in the Spain teams that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012.

Contents

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Born in Barcelona, Catalonia,[3] Piqué started his career in FC Barcelona's youth teams as a defensive midfielder, but 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 UnitedEdit

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.[5] He made his full debut in January 2005 in a 0–0 FA Cup draw with Exeter City. Pique 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.[6]

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 side Real Zaragoza 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,[7] 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 midfielder.

On 5 May 2007, it was announced that Piqué would be staying at Old Trafford for the following season. Sir Alex Ferguson had intended to assess Piqué's form at La Romareda on 6 May, prior to 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.[8]

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.[9] In doing so, he became the 450th player to score at least one goal for the club.[10] His second goal for the club also came in the Champions League, in an away match to Roma on 12 December 2007.[11]

Return to BarcelonaEdit

 
Piqué during the 2008 Joan Gamper Trophy

On 27 May 2008, Piqué signed a four-year contract with Barcelona, with a €5 million buy-out clause.[12] Barcelona paid a £5 million fee for the player.[13] He expressed his joy at re-signing with his boyhood club, although he admitted he had enjoyed his spell at Manchester United:

I am very happy 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's first goal for Barcelona came in the club's 2–5 Champions League group stage win at Sporting CP on 26 November 2008.[14][15] His first domestic goal for the club followed two months later, on 29 January 2009, in a Copa del Rey match against local rivals Espanyol. The goal, which came from a corner kick in the 57th minute, turned out to be the game winner in a 3–2 victory for Barcelona.[16][17] On 2 May 2009, Piqué scored Barcelona's sixth goal in a 2–6 El Clásico win against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which saw him produce a passionate goal celebration where he grabbed his Barcelona jersey.[18][19]

On 13 May 2009, he 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.[20] Three days later, Barcelona clinched the league title after Real Madrid lost 3–2 to Villarreal, with two games left in the season.[21]

 
Piqué warming up for Barcelona in August 2014

On 27 May 2009, Piqué played against his former club Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League Final, which Barcelona won 2–0,[22] completing a historic treble.[23]

On 19 December 2009, Piqué was in the Barcelona team which beat Argentine club Estudiantes 2–1 in the Club World Cup Final. Piqué assisted Pedro's 89th minute equalising goal which took the match to extra-time.[24]

On 26 February 2010, Piqué signed a contract extension to keep him at Barcelona until at least summer 2015.[25][26] On 28 April 2010, Piqué scored in Barcelona's Champions League semi-final second leg against Inter Milan, though his side went out 3–2 on aggregate.[27]

On 28 May 2011, Piqué played in his second Champions League Final. Barça defeated Manchester United 3–1 at Wembley Stadium to lift the European Cup for the second time in three seasons. On 1 May 2013, Piqué scored an own goal for Bayern Munich in Camp Nou, making the score 2–0 to Bayern. Later, Bayern went on to win 3–0 and 7–0 on aggregate.[28]

On 20 May 2014, Piqué signed a contract extension with Barcelona, keeping him at the club until 2019.[29]

On 6 June 2015, Piqué started for Barça in the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final, as the club won its fifth European Cup by beating Juventus at Berlin's Olympiastadion.[30] This made Barcelona the first club in history to win the treble of domestic league, domestic cup and European Cup twice.[31] Piqué, Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Dani Alves and Pedro are the only players to have been a part of both treble-winning teams.[31]

On 18 January 2018, Piqué extended his contract again, this time until 2022.[32]

International careerEdit

Youth teamsEdit

Piqué was a member of the Spain under-19 side that won the 2006 UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Poland.[33] 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.[34]

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.[35] However, Piqué missed the deciding penalty in the shoot-out against the Czech Republic and Spain were eliminated at the quarter-final stage.[36]

Senior sideEdit

 
Piqué (back row, first from right) lining up before the UEFA Euro 2012 Final
 
Piqué (right) in action for Spain in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Final

On 6 February 2009, Piqué was called up to the senior squad for the friendly against England on 11 February.[37] He played the entire match in a 2–0 win, in Seville.[38] 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.[39] Four days later, he also started in Istanbul in a 2–1 win, also in the group stage.[40]

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.

Piqué 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.[41] 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 Switzerland, just before Gelson Fernandes scored the only goal of the game, Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok tumbled over Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas and accidentally kicked Piqué in the face, knocking him over and leaving him with a nasty cut beside his right eye.[42]

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. 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 UEFA's 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, Piqué 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.[43]

In Spain's opening group game of UEFA Euro 2016 on 13 June, Piqué scored his fifth goal for his country, a late header in a 1–0 victory against the Czech Republic.[44]

In Spain's second group match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 20 June, a 1–0 win against Iran, Piqué made his 100th international appearance.[45]

On 11 August 2018, Piqué announced his retirement from international football.[46]

On 25 March 2019, Pique won his 10th cap for Catalonia region in a friendly match against Venezuela, a few months after he had retired from the Spanish National team and led the team to a 2–1 victory. [47]

Style of playEdit

Piqué is a modern defender, who combines strength with good technique and passing. Due to his height and physical attributes, he is good in the air. Although he is primarily deployed as a centre back, he is a tactically versatile player who is capable of playing as a defensive midfielder; he has also been deployed as a sweeper on occasion, showing similarities to German legend, Franz Beckenbauer, thus earning the sobriquet "Piquénbauer".[48] He has also occasionally been known to use his height as an additional attacking threat by advancing into more offensive positions.[49][50]

Personal lifeEdit

Piqué was raised in a Catalan family. His father, Joan, is a businessman, and his mother, Montserrat, is the director of a spinal injuries hospital in Barcelona. He has a younger brother, Marc.[51][52] His grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, is a former vice-president of Barcelona.[53] During the controversial 2017 independence referendum in Catalonia, he was seen by many as one of the public faces of the Catalan side of the argument, voting and tweeting his support in Catalan.[54] He subsequently faced backlash from some Spanish fans for his support of the Catalan independence referendum.[55]

Since early 2011, Piqué has been in a relationship with Colombian singer Shakira.[56] They met when he appeared in the music video for her single "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)", the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[57] Piqué and Shakira share the same birthday, but she is ten years his senior. The couple have two children, Milan and Sasha.[58][59]

Piqué was the face of Mango's men's line HE for four consecutive campaign seasons between 2011 and 2012.[60][61][62] In 2012, he lent his voice to the Catalan version of The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! as the Pirate King.[63]

Media and business interestsEdit

Piqué is the founder and president of Kosmos Holding, a sports and media investment group he started with Hiroshi Mikitani (founder and chairman of Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten, Inc.), Edmund Chu, Nullah Sarker, and Mike Evans.[64] Kosmos has struck a partnership with the International Tennis Federation for a 25-year, $3 billion partnership that will transform the Davis Cup and generate substantial revenues for global tennis development.[65] In August 2018, U.S. billionaire Larry Ellison published a public letter stating that he is joining the Kosmos group.[66]

Tax fraudEdit

On 10 July 2019, Piqué was ordered by a Spanish court to pay €2.1 million to the tax authorities following his conviction for image rights fraud. The defender pretended to hand over his image rights to his Kerad Project company in order to pay less tax from 2008 to 2010.[67]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of match played 25 May 2019[68][69]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup[a] League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 2004–05[70] Premier League 0 0 1 0 1 0 1[b] 0 0 0 3 0
2005–06[71] Premier League 3 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 7 0
2006–07[72] Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2007–08[73] Premier League 9 0 0 0 1 0 3[b] 2 0 0 13 2
Total 12 0 3 0 4 0 4 2 0 0 23 2
Zaragoza (loan) 2006–07[72] La Liga 22 2 6 1 28 3
Barcelona 2008–09[74] La Liga 25 1 6 1 14[b] 1 0 0 45 3
2009–10[75] La Liga 32 2 1 0 12[c] 2 4[d] 0 49 4
2010–11[76] La Liga 31 3 7 0 12[b] 1 1[e] 0 51 4
2011–12[77] La Liga 22 2 8 0 5[b] 0 3[f] 0 38 2
2012–13[78] La Liga 28 2 4 1 10[b] 0 2[e] 0 44 3
2013–14[79] La Liga 26 2 2 0 9[b] 2 2[e] 0 39 4
2014–15[80] La Liga 27 5 6 1 11[b] 1 44 7
2015–16[81] La Liga 30 2 5 2 8[g] 1 3[h] 0 46 5
2016–17[82] La Liga 25 2 7 0 8[b] 1 1[e] 0 41 3
2017–18[83] La Liga 30 2 8 1 9[b] 1 2[e] 0 49 4
2018–19[83] La Liga 35 4 5 0 11[b] 2 1[e] 1 52 7
Total 311 27 59 6 109 12 19 1 498 46
Career total 345 29 68 7 4 0 113 14 19 1 549 51
  1. ^ Includes FA Cup, Copa del Rey
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  3. ^ One appearance in UEFA Super Cup, eleven appearances and two goals in UEFA Champions League
  4. ^ Two appearances in Supercopa de España, two appearances in FIFA Club World Cup
  5. ^ a b c d e f Appearance(s) in Supercopa de España
  6. ^ Two appearances in Supercopa de España, one appearance in FIFA Club World Cup
  7. ^ One appearance in UEFA Super Cup, seven appearances in UEFA Champions League
  8. ^ One appearances in Supercopa de España, two appearances in FIFA Club World Cup

InternationalEdit

As of match played 1 July 2018[84][85]
 
Piqué playing in the Iberian derby against Portugal in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Spain 2009 13 4
2010 16 0
2011 8 0
2012 11 0
2013 11 0
2014 6 0
2015 8 0
2016 12 1
2017 9 0
2018 8 0
Total 102 5

International goalsEdit

As of match played 6 October 2017. Spain score listed first, score column indicates score after each Piqué goal.[84]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 28 March 2009 Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Madrid, Spain 2   Turkey 1–0 1–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
2 12 August 2009 Philip II Arena, Skopje, Macedonia 8   Macedonia 2–2 3–2 Friendly
3 5 September 2009 Estadio Riazor, A Coruña, Spain 9   Belgium 3–0 5–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
4 14 October 2009 Bilino Polje, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina 12   Bosnia and Herzegovina 1–0 5–2
5 13 June 2016 Stadium Municipal, Toulouse, France 78   Czech Republic 1–0 1–0 UEFA Euro 2016

HonoursEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit