SOCCER

Barcelona's Piqué talks to El País about retirement, Messi, Clásico

Speaking to the Spanish newspaper El País, Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué has again discussed his plans for hanging up his boots.

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Barcelona's Piqué talks to El País about retirement, Messi, Clásico
LLUIS GENE AFP

The Spanish newspaper El País has published an interview with Gerard Piqué in which the Barcelona centre-back again discusses his retirement plans. After indicating on Friday that his playing career is drawing to a close, telling Spanish TV channel Movistar “I don’t know how long I’ve got left”, Piqué was more specific in his conversation with El País, revealing that he’ll hang up his boots when he’s no longer a starter at the Camp Nou.

"A whole year on the bench? No, I don't fancy that"

“I’ll retire at Barça - that’s for certain,” Piqué said. “What I won’t accept is retiring as a substitute. Look, if it’s the last three months of the season and that’s what my role becomes, then fine. But a whole year on the bench? No, I don’t fancy that.”

Barcelona have paid "heavy price" for 2014/15 trophy triumphs

Piqué doesn’t only talk about the future. The 34-year-old also looked back at Barça’s LaLiga, Champions League and Copa del Rey treble seven seasons ago - and the consequences of that trophy haul. “We've paid an exceptionally heavy price for the treble in 2014/15,” he said. “In January of that year, less than 1% [of Barça’s club members] intended to vote for [then interim president Jose Maria] Bartomeu, but after that he won the [presidential] election.

It’s a lesson for the members: results aren’t everything. Because we won the treble, because we had six really good months on the field… The club isn’t only what happens on the pitch. That’s hugely important, but there are so many other things, too. And it’s clear that the situation the club is in is because of the way it’s been run in recent years. Covid can account for certain things, but not everything. That’s the truth, the harsh truth.”

Piqué reacts during Barcelona's 1-0 Champions League victory over Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday - a game in which the defender scored the winning goal for the Blaugrana.

Piqué talks about Messi exit, Clásico

Piqué also discussed Lionel Messi’s summer departure for Paris Saint-Germain, conceding that, despite the Argentine’s on-field importance to Barça, the club’s financial state made it "very difficult" for the Catalans to keep hold of the superstar.

The defender, who in August took a pay cut to allow the Blaugrana to register summer recruits Memphis Depay, Eric García and Rey Manaj without breaching LaLiga’s financial fair play rules, explained: “I'm good with numbers, but I find it hard to get my head around the financial fair play thing. I don't know. I sat down with the president and it was clear that I had to reach an agreement with the club; otherwise we weren't going to be able to register any signings.

"And I think if Leo’s contract had been renewed, the numbers would have been really difficult. I don’t know whether or not it would have been viable if everyone had made a monumental effort. I don’t have the information.”

And, ahead of Sunday’s Clásico, Piqué was in no doubt that facing Real Madrid is the fixture that most motivates him: “Yeah, by a distance.”