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Frank Rijkaard vs. Pep Guardiola: Rafa Marquez vs. Gerard Piqué

FC Barcelona vs Inter Milan [1-0] Goal Gerard Piqué [28/04/2010] (via duzinhoHD1)
The fourth instalment of Guardiola vs. Rijkaard features the "other two" centre-backs, Rafael Marquez and Gerard Pique.

I am a huge fan of both players and was disappointed that Rafa chose to leave this summer but obviously things have been going well without him!

Pique proved that not only was he an adequate replacement, but a better player altogether when compared to his predecessor Marquez.

There’s no doubt about Marquez quality, but though Piquenbauer is a lot younger, he possess even more natural ability and elegance than the captain of the Mexican national team. Sure, Marquez is an excellent free-kicks taker, but even his outstanding passing isn’t on par with Pique’s.

Throughout his stint with FC Barcelona Marquez has been a key player, but it didn’t took Pique too long to push him out of the starting XI, for good.

Of course, Pique took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself when Marquez got injured during the 2008/2009 campaign. Nevertheless, it takes a special kind of player to replace the Mexican who is often, and rightfully, praised for his passing ability.

But Gerard Pique’s ability on the ball even supersedes that of Marquez. I’d argue that Pique’s passing is just as good, perhaps even better than his one-time teammate. His all-round defensive ability is world-class. His aerial presence is sometimes vital to the team. Piquenbauer also proved that he can score exceptional goals, from open play no less, as he did in last year’s Champions League semi-final against Inter Milan!

To sum it up, there isn’t too much that Pique can’t do, whether it is in attack or defense.

Well, I don’t think that pace is one of Pique’s marquee attributes, but neither has it been one of Marquez.

Pique though has formed an even better partnership with fellow centre-half Carles Puyol and his versatility, which I touched on earlier, is fantastic. Not only is he adept at centre-back, but can also play as holding midfielder (which he did during his on-loan spell with Real Zaragoza from Manchester United).

Gerard "Piquenbauer" Pique will surely go down as one of the best Barca players of all-time, therefore I shall proclaim him the winner of this match-up ahead of Marquez.

Winner: Gerard Pique

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