To say goodbye to club icon Gerard Piqué, FC Barcelona has at least temporarily taken the lead in the Spanish football championship again. Thanks to goals from Ousmane Dembele (48th minute) and Frenkie de Jong (62nd), the Catalans won 2-0 (0-0) against UD Almeria on Saturday. Champions League winners Real Madrid can return to first place with a win at Rayo Vallecano on Monday.
The focus of the game, however, was piqué. The exceptional defender completed his last career game and ran out as captain. The 35-year-old was then substituted in the 84th minute. To the applause of the spectators, who rose from their seats, the former world and European champion left the pitch with tears in his eyes and hugged his teammates.
Piqué surprisingly announced last Thursday that the game against Almeria would be the last of his career. “I’ve always said that there will be no other team after Barça. And that’s how it will be,” said the central defender. “I’ll be a regular fan. I will support the team. I will pass the love for Barça on to my children. Just like my parents did to me.”
Piqué was born in Barcelona and trained as a footballer with FC Barcelona. After stints at Manchester United and Real Zaragoza, he returned to Barça in 2008 and has since won the Champions League and the Spanish championship several times with the club. Most recently, however, he was hardly considered by coach Xavi. Piqué left it open how things will continue for him after his active career. He just said, “You know me. Sooner or later I’ll be back. See you at Camp Nou.”