Barcelona star defender Gerard Piqué spoke to the media ahead of his team's UEFA Champions League match against Manchester City on Wednesday at Camp Nou. As usual, Piqué gave a great interview, and he didn't shy away from any questions.
When asked if he could compare current coach Luis Enrique with former coach Pep Guardiola, whom he meets again this Wednesday, he did it right away. Piqué also spoke about Pep's transfer plans, which may or may not have included a few Barça players over the summer, and spoke about his career plans, revealing he nearly quit football two years ago.
Here are some highlights from Geri's presser:
“In the first two years they were both here at Barça, they won the same. They both won the treble, they both won two La Liga titles. On a personal level, too. I’ve gotten along with both. Luis Enrique came the year after Tata [Martino], when the team was down. Pep came the year after [Frank] Rijkaard, also when the team was down. They are very similar. We are in another golden age for Barça and I hope we can keep it up.
“Pep has made them change their approach to football. It’s similar to our style. They bring pressure up the field, they create pressure on the outlet. It’s a different team than under Pellegrini. They create pressure differently, more like us. Pep understands the game like we do.
On whether Barça is thinking about sewing up Group C or just getting the three points:
“Of course, we want to win and be first. The objective is take a big step.”
“If we win tomorrow, we’re essentially guaranteed a spot in the last 16. It’s key.”
On his and the team’s relationship with Pep:
“Pep was an influence on all of us. There was a before and after. He changed the history of this Club. I have nothing but praise for a coach who gave everything, and who gave me a chance here. We have great memories.”
On whether he’d like to play another position:
“I have the most fun playing central defender.”
On how he’s handling the gruelling schedule:
“I’m not getting tired, I like playing every three days. I like to help out the team as much as possible. Even with Sam [Umtiti] and [Jérémy] Mathieu out I am happy to play more.”
On his long term outlook:
“Normally I set short-, middle- and long-term goals. We’ll see how it goes. It depends on your legs. Motivation is key. I have two years to have fun with Spain and try to win the World Cup. And with Barça we’ll see how many years I can go.”
On what he does and doesn’t like about football in this day and age:
“I like that we have more access to the game, more TV, the leagues in Germany, England, France, around the world. Before it was very tough, just Spain. I like the global game, seeing all the players, as a fan it’s great.”
“Something I don’t like is the culture of focusing on the stuff that goes on outside the lines. But maybe it sells more and that’s why the media focuses on it.”
On what City can do to stop Messi:
"Ask Pep. Messi is the best in the world. His mere presence is a difference-maker.”
On Manchester City going after Barça players:
“Pep has another job now. It’s normal for a club with money to try and get players, whether from Barça or otherwise. It’s not strange. It’s not like because Pep’s from here, and he’s part of the family, that he can’t go after players from here.”
On being close to quitting football a few years back:
“Motivation is everything. I was close to quitting Spain, quitting Barça, and just walking away. You have enough money to live the rest of your life. After the 2014 World Cup, I didn’t have any passion. I spoke with several coaches and decided to keep going. Maybe it was because I won everything at a young age. Then they spoke about Luis Enrique coming, bringing in some fresh air, trying to get back as one of the best teams in the world. I wanted to be a part of it, and now I’m at the peak of my career, having fun.”
On how Messi looks after coming back from injury:
“Leo looks good. He’s the best in the world. The best in history, in my opinion. But Argentina doesn’t win everything, it’s not just him. We all have to play well. But he does make a difference.”