BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Gerard Pique held his dominance until he began telling 92,000 people how much he loved his boyhood club.
Then, tears flowed uncontrollably for the 35-year-old Barcelona defender and multiple trophy winner as he would never play for his home fans again.
Pique played his final game at the Camp Nou on Saturday, making his 616th appearance for Barcelona in a farewell that was sweetened by a commanding 2-0 win over Almeria that took the hosts to the top of the Spanish league. You picked up.
He was praised after the first touch and when he was substituted late on. He hugged each of his friends and waved to the crowd, which left him standing.
After taking pride in Europe’s biggest football stadium, Pique took to the microphone to say that he plans to return to the club in the future, but not as a player. In the past, he has said that one day he would consider running for club president.
“In life, when you grow up, sometimes you stop loving,” he said before breaking up.
“There is so much love, so much passion between Barça and me that it is time to give us some space, some air, and I am sure that I will come back in the future. My grandfather gave me The club made me a member. I was born here and I will die here. Long live Barça.
Pique, a World and European champion with Spain and a three-time Champions League winner with Barcelona, Unexpected announcement This week it will be the last home game of his 14-year career with the Catalan club.
After Robert Lewandowski missed the first penalty, Ousmane Dembele opened the scoring against Almeria in the 48th minute and Frenkie de Jong put the result beyond doubt in the 62nd minute.
The victory moved Real Madrid two points clear of coach Xavi Hernandez ahead of their match at Rio Vallecano on Monday.
The legacy of PIQUE
A prolific passer and goalscorer from his centre-back position, Pique was part of Barcelona’s best teams alongside Xavi, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta. He helped Barcelona win 30 titles, including eight Spanish leagues and seven Copa del Rey crowns.
Pique scored 52 career goals for Barcelona and is the most goals scored in the Champions League by a defender at 16, joining former Real Madrid boss Roberto Carlos.
Pique played alongside Messi and Cesc Fabregas at Barcelona’s La Masia training academy as part of a golden generation of young players. After a spell at Manchester United, he returned in 2008 and immediately started alongside Carles Puel in the heart of defence. He then partnered with many center backs throughout his long career, including Javier Mascherano, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet and, more recently, Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia.
He also partnered Sergio Ramos in Spain’s defense to help them win the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship.
But with the arrivals of Jules Conde, Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso this summer, Xavi has been reduced to a rarely used backup for the first time in his career.
“Gerrard has left behind a fantastic legacy,” said teammate Sergio Busquets, now the only remaining member of former coach Pep Guardiola’s best Barcelona teams. “He is an example of what a Barcelona player should be.”
While he will be missed by his teammates, his departure will help Reduce the salary burden The Borrower’s Club
Lewandowski hit the post in the seventh minute with a penalty after Kiki Fernandez used his arm to block a header from Ferran Torres.
Dembele finally broke after half an hour. He received a long ball from Biscuits on the right, outpaced two defenders on the edge of the area and fired a shot inside the post.
De Jong scored in the second after goalkeeper Fernando Martinez did well to save a point-blank shot by substitute Ansu Fati.
Osasuna’s Chimi Avila scored twice to lead Osasuna to a 2-1 win at Celta Vigo and the Portuguese manager’s first game in charge of Carlos Carvalhal replacing the sacked Eduardo Claudio.
Valladolid beat last-place Elche 2-1, while Getafe drew 0-0 with Cadiz.