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Barcelona owe a huge debt of gratitude to Gerard Pique

A giant of the game

Barcelona’s new signing and former Manch Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Gerard Pique’s announcement that he is calling time on his illustrious career this weekend was yet another master stroke in self-publicising.

The defender, a World Cup winner who, bar the last few months has been at the top of his game, has always had his finger on the pulse where digital media, social media and engagement are concerned.

Rather than bowing out quietly and gracefully at the end of the season as might have been expected, Geri has made the narrative his own once more. Fair play.

The savvy business sense has never really sat well with culers, more so as his business interests - and his personal wealth and influence - continued to expand.

Jealousy? That’s not even a question that needs answering because it’s blindingly obvious.

Valencia CF v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Whatever people think about Pique the entrepreneur, however, now is the time to give thanks to Pique the professional footballer.

Alongside Carles Puyol, he provided arguably La Liga’s best central defensive pairing of the last decade.

Once the shaggy-haired destroyer had hung up his own boots, there were serious question marks as to whether Pique could pick up the baton.

It’s fair to say he has answered all of his critics emphatically. Piquenbauer, eh?

Barça fans would do well to remember such an elegant passer of the ball from the back, that was so dominant aerially and also capable of being a genuine threat at the opposite end of the pitch.

Losing a yard of pace over the last nine months or so hasn’t really helped his cause and, perhaps, it was the right decision from Xavi to give him a more peripheral role this season.

The club have to look to the future and when everyone is fit, it’s difficult to find a starting spot for Geri. Old Father Time waits for no man that’s clear.

FC Barcelona v Villarreal CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

He absolutely deserves a monumental send-off on Saturday for all that he’s done for the club during the most successful period in its history mind.

Discussions about La Decision, Barcagate, Shakira, pay cuts and the like are for another day.

We often talk about generational talents and Gerard Pique is in that bracket.

You don’t win all there is to win in the game without being at the top of your game.

To think how much he cost the club to re-sign him from Man United… it must go down as one of the bargains of the century and one Sir Alex may still rue.

Go well, Geri.

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