Barcelona vs Almería summary: Piqué tributes in last home game, score, goals and highlights, LaLiga Santander 2022-23
FT Barcelona 2-0 Almería
Piqué's Barcelona farewell ends the only way it could, with a victory.
- Lewandowski misses an early penalty as Barça struggle to open Almería up early on
- Ramazani squanders a huge chance for the visitors after a slack De Jong pass
- Barça use the wings to open Almería up time and time again, with Alba and Torres huge threats
- Poor finishing and solid goalkeeping from Martínez ensures the sides go in goalless at half-time
- Quick-fire goals in the second half from Dembélé and De Jong put Barcelona on easy street
- More Martínez saves prevent Xavi's side from winning by a landslide
- Gerard Piqué is replaced to a standing ovation in the 84th minute, after which literally nothing happens
Here's the full version of Piqué's speech for those of you who speak Catalan.
For those who don't, the gist of it is:
“Sometimes you have to leave behind the things you love. The relationship between Barcelona and I has been so loving and so passionate, I thought that maybe we needed a little bit of space. I’m sure that I’ll be back here again in the future. I was born here and I’ll die here.”
Piqué is currently sitting in the dugout with his kids and other loved ones. It doesn't look like he's going home any time soon.
Emotional speech from Piqué
That was understandably emotional from Piqué. Imagine giving up what he's given up after so long. He'll forever be loved by the Barcelona support and...maybe he'll be back.
Piqué is now mic'ed up and addressing the crowd in Catalan...tears are coming now. "Sometimes love means saying goodbye."
Piqué has just been hoisted up in the air by his teammates, as they often do. A lap of honour, with mobile phone torches flashing down on Camp Nou. Still no tears...
Absolutely nothing going on on the field right now, a stark contrast to what went before. What's clear, though, is that Barcelona are going top of the table.
Things have calmed right down again, with only a lovely roulette in midfield from Pedri lifting the crowd back up again.
Piqué's Camp Nou career over
Hugs from teammates, opponents, officials, backroom staff for Piqué, who looks close to tears as Christensen comes on for him in defence. I don't think we quite got any though...
This is going to be it...Piqué's last dance.
Balde is next to test Martínez with a low drive from the edge of the box. A straightforward save this time.
Christensen warming up. I think these could be Gerard Piqué's last few moments as a Barcelona player at Camp Nou.
Piqué might be coming off here...
A simpler stop for Martínez this time but a lovely effort from distance from Lewandowski. Not quite enough height to get it up and over the Almería stopper, though.
Yet another save from Martínez and it might be the best of the lot. Raphinha's ball into the box finds the run of Fati's, whose clip goalwards is tipped over.
Oh...it was offisde. Never mind.
Almería won possession in the Barça half and committed bodies forward there. Ramazani's cross into the box is just a hopeful one, though, and is easily cleared.
Pictures coming through of Ferran Torres' (slightly) angry reaction to being taken off. "I want my players to be annoyed at being taking off," I can hear Xavi saying already.
Ansu Fati has the ball in the net but he's about half a mile offside and it's ruled out. VAR not even needed there, who would've imagined it?
Eguaras on for Rodrigo Ely for Rubi's men.
Gavi and Raphinha on for Busquets and Dembélé.
Almost three! Pedri toying with Almería defence in their own box there. He and then De Jong tee up Fati, who is thwarted by another decent stop down low from Martínez. The ball comes back into the box and is then headed over by Lewandowski.
2-0! De Jong!
Immediate impact from Fati, although it's De Jong's goal.
Alba, who looks to have shaken off his ankle issue, swings in a cross from the left which is met by Fati, whose shot is beaten away by Martínez. It falls only as far as De Jong, however, who lashes it high into the net.
Ansu Fati replaces Ferran Torres.
Gerard Piqué urging Camp Nou to give both players a huge ovation.
Seconds later, Dembélé is played in behind and nudges the ball past Martínez but there are two Almería players on the line and his effort on goal is blocked by a third who's backtracking.
The first piece of proper defending from Piqué! Ramazani looks to go past him in a one-on-one but the defender outmuscles his man and gets the ball back to Ter Stegen.
Jordi Alba looks to be struggling with an ankle issue here. Can he shake it off?
Can Almería find a way back into this? They've not offered much so far but they're going to have to change tack here.
It was coming and it has come.
A touch of class from Dembélé. Busquets finds the Frenchman with a fine diagonal ball. He runs infield, cuts inside one, cuts inside other and calmly places the ball into the corner of Martínez's net. Superb stuff.
The half-time interval came at a good time for Almería, they were really under the cosh at the end of the first half.
And we're off again!
HT subs for Almería
Sousa and Babic replace Baptistao and Kaiky for the visitors
HT - Barcelona 0-0 Almería
A fairly comfortable evening for Piqué so far, who almost got his head to a couple of corners in the Almería box.
Other than Lewandowski's missed penalty, Barcelona created little in the first 10 or 15 minutes but they exploited spaces out wide more and more as the half wore on, with Alba and Torres the main threats. The final touch in front of goal eluded them, however, and Martínez has also made a series of saves that he would've expected to make. Dembélé really should've given him no chance with a diving header late in the half.
The other clearest chance of the half fell to Almería's Largie Ramazani, who ran clean through on goal from the halfway line after a wayward pass from De Jong, but the attacker couldn't beat Ter Stegen.
Almería almost take the the lead completely against the run of play but Baptistao is unable to control a cross from the right into the box, while Melero's follow-up shot is blocked. Barça race up the other end and De Jong draws another fine stop from Martínez after cutting in from the left.
Another Jordi Alba cross, Pedri's header at the back post is stopped by Martínez.
The half-time whistle might save Almería here. De Jong wins the ball high up the pitch and slides Ferran through on goal. The former Manchester City man is denied by a good stop at the near post by Martínez, who's getting busier and busier.
And seconds later, Lewandowski heads a right-wing cross wide at the back post. Not his night so far.
Clearest chance for Barcelona!
As soon as I say Barcelona have been getting most joy out wide, they split Almería open through the middle. Lewandowski flicks the ball over the top for Ferran, who unselfishly squares for Dembélé, whose diving header inexplicably goes straight at Martínez when the goal was gaping.
Remember those passes that Lionel Messi used to play to get Jordi Alba in behind the opposition defence on the left. That's the play for Barcelona here.
I mentioned at the start of the game that Almería were looking to plug gaps in central areas. They've done that but have left huge space down the flanks, which is where Barça are hurting them. A vicious circle.
Inches away from 1-0! Lewandowski drifts out wide and leaves space for Ferran Torres to move into in the middle. Alba's cross finds him just a few yards out but the attacker's prod goalwards is off target.
There are A LOT of bodies in the Almería box. Busquets dinks a lovely ball over the top of them all for Jordi Alba to run onto but the left-back's cross on the stretch is cut out by Martínez.
Off the line!
A well-worked Barcelona corner ends at the feet of Ferran Torres, whose his shot beats Martínez but is cleared off the line by Kaiky.
Huge chance for Almería!
Biggest chance of the match and it's for Almería! A super slack pass from De Jong to Piqué gives Ramazani the chance to run clear through on goal from the halfway line. He closes in on goal but takes it too close to Ter Stegen, who saves with his feet.
More danger for Almería! Pedri ghosts into the box unmarked and squares for...Houboulang Mendes to clear. Great run, poor pass.
Barcelona cranking it up! Alba sends Torres away down the left, he gets to the goal line but Martínez is able to block his cutback at the near post. It feels as if a goal is coming...
Barça are pressing very high up the pitch, which hasn't caught Almería out too much yet but they're really struggling to hold onto the ball for more than a couple of passes.
Another corner for Barça, Piqué up again...and he wasn't far away from it! Almería clearing but the ball just keeps coming back. Not sure if Ter Stegen has touched it yet.
First shot on target from Barça! Jordi Alba and Ferran Torres look to have made a mess of a free-kick but Alba manages to fire in a shot from distance, which Martínez just does enough to shuffle away from goal.
Several Almería players looked visibly demoralised when the penalty was given but Lewandowski's miss has given them a massive shot in the arm. They're keeping things pretty tight so far.
That's the cheapest corner I've ever seen given away by Almería there. Samu Costa hoofs it back to his goalkeeper from halfway and sticks it behind.
Piqué gets his head to the corner (he couldn't, could he?) but can't keep it down.
A superb dribble from Akieme to get Almería out of trouble there. He's hauled down by De Jong, who should've got a yellow.
Ferran Torres slides in to try to get on the end of a cross and catches Almería keeper Fernando Martínez. A sore one for the latter and a yellow card for the former.
Unbelievable. Piqué visibly told Lewandowski to take it...probably regrets that now. The Pole hits the outside of the post and the ball goes wide. 0-0.
There could be a penalty coming up here...Ferran Torres' header onto Kaiky's hand...
"Piqué! Piqué!" chant the Camp Nou. A carnival atmosphere so far.
As suspected, Alejandro Balde has started at right-back and Marcos Alonso in central defence. Three left-backs in the back four.
A very clear 5-3-2 from Almería so far. They're trying to limit space in the middle of the pitch as much as possible.
Huge cheers for Piqué as he gets some early touches under his belt.
Almería get us underway! The ball is already in Barça possession...
Robert Lewandowski receiving the award for LaLiga player of the month just before kickoff. Talk about stealing someone's thunder...
Piqué, of course, captains the side. For the last time at Camp Nou. I've not mentioned that he could actually still play at Osasuna on Tuesday.
The players are out, the Barça team in their Pique 3 shirts.
Hugs from everyone, teammates and opposition players alike, in the tunnel for Piqué.
In case you're wondering what the club have planned in terms of a tribute, these are the details:
"To kick things off, a giant banner with “Sempr3” will be unfurled at the stadium, referring to Pique’s #3 jersey and the Catalan word ‘Sempre’ which stands for ‘always/forever’.
Then, the Barça squad will step out on the pitch to train but instead of the usual training gear, they will be donning special shirts with ‘Pique’ written at the back and Sempr3 on the chest as a tribute to the legendary defender.
Finally, a video of Pique will be shown on the scoreboard to pay homage to the club icon and his glittering career at Barcelona, during which he has made 615 appearances – putting him fifth-highest on the list of most appearances for the club, and has won 30 titles in all."
A Piqué celebration
This is going to be emotional.Piqué out warming up, waving to the fans who've been cheering him on for the last 14 years.
A couple of stats coming up on DAZN.
Piqué has played 614 official games for Barcelona, putting him fifth in the all-time appearance list.
And he's had a 69% win rate in that time. That seems high.
Almería starting XI
Here's how Rubi's boys line up for tonight. They've fluctuated between a back four and five recently, it's the latter tonight. Looking to flood the central areas.
David Villa speaking about Piqué on DAZN before the game: "His character and positivity stands out. This kind of person is always important in any team, in any dressing room."
Almería struggling away from home
I've said next to nothing about Almería so far and I genuinely feel bad about that. It takes two to tango, after all.
They were promoted from LaLiga Smartbank in the summer and currently sit in 13th having recovered well from a run of four successive defeats in September, which had left them in the relegation zone. They recorded three victories in October, although all of them were at home and their away form still needs some serious work. After drawing at Elche on 22 August, Rubi’s men have lost all five of their subsequent matches on the road, which doesn’t bode especially well for tonight.
Barcelona can go top of LaLiga tonight
As I mentioned before, there is actually a game of soccer being played tonight. And a rather important one too.
After all, Barcelona can move two points clear at the top of LaLiga by defeating 13th-placed Almería. Not bad for a club that seems to have gone from one crisis to the next over the last few years.
Barcelona coach Xavi, meanwhile, insisted that it was the right time for Piqué to retire in his pre-match press conferece, hinting that a lack of game time was the principal factor:
"He hasn’t been playing much and feels less important, less useful to the team, so it’s normal to take this step back. He’s showing his greatness by stepping away."
"His behaviour has been exemplary but I was honest with him and the circumstances have led to him making the decision to stop."
"He’s the one who made the decision. That’s clear, it’s his decision, his life and his career and whatever decision he makes is 100% respected. He has earned the right to choose what he wants to do and when.”
Barcelona president Joan Laporta hailed Piqué's "unquestionable love for Barcelona."
Laporta seemed to be referring to the defender's emotional video but no doubt had the financial implications of Piqué departure in mind too...
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, a former Barcelona youth player, has been one of many figures from the world of football to pay tribute to Piqué.
"He’s given so much to this game. And if he’s made that decision, I’m sure he’s thought a lot about it. And he will be missed because I think he was a world-class player.”
"This Saturday’s game will be my last at Camp Nou. I will become a regular fan. I will support the team. I will pass my love for Barça to my children. Like my family did with me. And you know me. Sooner or later I’ll be back. I’ll see you at Camp Nou. Long live Barça. Always.”
The most cryptic section of Pique's retirement video. Rumours have swirled for a while that the defender, who runs multiple successful businesses, may have an eye on becoming Barcelona president in the future. Is that what he's referring to here...?
Bids at the ready
This'll be Piqué's last ever matchworn shirt. And shrewd businessman that he is, you can bet he'll get a decent price for it a few years down the line...
Pique has played 666 times for the Catalan club, bagging 56 goals in the process, and was capped for the Spanish national team on 102 occasions before he retired from international football back in 2018.
FC Barcelona honours
La Liga winner (8 times): 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19
Copa del Rey winner (7 times): 2008–09, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2020–21
Supercopa de España winner(6 times): 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018
UEFA Champions League winner (3 times): 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15
UEFA Super Cup winner (3 times): 2009, 2011, 2015
FIFA Club World Cup winner (3 times): 2009, 2011, 2015
Spain national team honours
FIFA World Cup winner: 2010
UEFA European Championship winner: 2012
UEFA European Under-19 Championship winner: 2006
My maths has never been the greatest but I make that 30 trophies with Barcelona and three with Spain.
Other Barcelona line-up news...
In case anyone is interested, it looks as if Marcos Alonso will be Piqué partner in central defence, despite the return from injury of Eric García, who's on the bench.
Right-back has been a big issue for Xavi lately because of injuries to Ronald Araújo, Jules Koundé and now Sergi Roberto, so Alejandro Balde might well switch over to the right flank.
Anyway, back to Geri...
Piqué starts! - Barcelona starting XI
It was never in any doubt...was it? News just in, Gerard Piqué starts in his farewell game at Camp Nou!
Ter Stegen; Balde, Piqué, Alonso, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Torres.
"Football has given me everything. Barça has given me everything. You, culers, have given me everything. And now that all that kid’s dreams have come true I want to tell you that I’ve decided that now is the time to bring this journey to its end."
Piqué's emotional video captured the hearts of Barcelona fans and, let's be honest, all of us who have followed his career from start to finish. Here's every word of his touching retirement message.
Before we go into that in any more detail, you may want to watch Piqué's farewell game for yourself. In which case...bingo! You're in luck. Here's how you can do just that.
All about Piqué
There is actually a game of soccer on this evening - and we'll come to that in a bit - but tonight, as you may already have guessed, is all about one man. If you've missed any of the news surrounding Gerard Piqué's retirement, don't worry, we've got you covered.
Piqué announced his retirement from soccer on Thursday
Did anyone see this coming? Sure, Piqué hadn’t been playing much this season but he has had made the odd appearance here and there, with Barça having had loads of injury issues to contend with in defence. But even the nature of this video posted on social media tells you that this had been a long time coming, something which Xavi confirmed in his pre-game press conference.
Barcelona vs Almería - Gerard Piqué's Camp Nou farewell
Hello and thanks for joining me (Roddy) for live coverage of Saturday’s LaLiga clash between the Gerard Piqué XI (AKA Barcelona) and Almería. In case you haven’t heard (maybe you’ve been on holiday on the moon), this is going to be Piqué’s last ever game for Barcelona at Camp Nou. Hope you’ve got your tissues at the ready.
Geri’s farewell kicks off at 9pm local time in Catalonia, that’s 4pm ET / 1pm PT.