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Gerard Piqué's tearful farewell speech at Camp Nou

Having held back tears after being substituted, Gerard Piqué could resist no longer when giving his farewell speech to the Barcelona fans

Roddy Cons
Update:
Having held back tears after being substituted, Gerard Piqué could resist no longer when giving his farewell speech to the Barcelona fans
ALBERT GEAREUTERS

Understandably, it all got too much for Gerard Piqué as he addressed the Barcelona fans following his last ever match at Camp Nou, a routine 2-0 victory over Almería, which sends the Catalans two points clear of Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga.

The defender seemed emotional but happy as Andreas Christensen replaced him in the 84th minute, a substitution that led to hugs and handshakes from players from both sides and match officials. We then saw similar scenes with Barcelona staff members in the dugout and players not in the matchday squad in the stands.

But just when it seemed as if Piqué would get through the occasion without shedding a single tear, he eventually gave in and was forced to stop midway through his speech as he bid farewell to the Camp Nou after the final whistle.

“Sometimes you have to leave behind the things you love. The relationship between Barcelona and me 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.”

Gerard Piqué

It was a night of tributes. Before the game, a giant banner with “Sempr3″ was unfurled over the centre circle, referring to Piqué's #3 jersey and the Catalan word ‘Sempre’ which stands for ‘always/forever’, while every Barcelona player took to the field with a shirt with ‘Piqué 3′ on the back.

After the final whistle, a video was shown on the big screen in the stadium which encapsulated some of the best moments of Piqué's career, starting from when he was coming through the youth ranks up until the present day.

The more unscripted stuff consisted of teammates hoisting him up in the air after the game had finished and a lap on honour in front of the fans, who had cheered him when he took possession of the ball throughout and chanted his name at various points.

And perhaps the best tribute of all: an assured defensive performance and a comfortable victory for his team. We’ve seen lots of them over the years but this one will stay longer in the memory than many of the others.

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