Gerard Pique

Barcelona legend Gerard Pique refused the offer of a farewell press conference from club president Joan Laporta, according to reports.

The defender, who has made 615 appearances for the Catalan giants, announced his shock retirement from football on Thursday night.

Pique is set to play in Barcelona’s LaLiga clash with Almeria at the weekend at the Nou Camp before hanging up his boots.

The Spanish defender, 35, has won 30 trophies while at his boyhood club, while he also spent four years with Manchester United from 2004-2008.

And, according to Marca, Pique personally informed Laporta last week of his decision to retire, claiming it was in the best interests of himself and the club.

Pique has been under pressure to leave as the cash-strapped club aimed to get rid of his high wages, while he has played just nine times in all competition’s this season, slipping down Xavi’s pecking order at centre-back – and even behind left-back Marcos Alonso who has been preferred at times.

The president accepted Pique’s decision and wanted to reveal the news at a joint farewell press conference in which the player and the club were present in.

However, the defender rejected this and wanted to announce his retirement in another way and divulged the news in a video he shared on social media.

The report goes onto state that Pique’s decision has been one that he has been contemplating for a while.

It came into his thinking when Xavi informed him in the summer that he would no longer be an important player at the club.

However, Pique was steadfast in his belief he would be able to turn this around and told the Barcelona boss he would win his first team place back despite the signings of defenders like Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Alonso in the summer.

A big moment for the 35-year-old was Barcelona’s 3-3 draw with Inter Milan in the Champions League when he was heavily criticised for his performance.

Pique was aware that he hadn’t performed well but the level of criticism surprised him – he was also aware that the club itself had promoted some of these smears in an attempt to force him to leave.

Now that he has announced his departure, Pique has forfeited plenty of money, with his contract running until 2024.

In total, by announcing his retirement, he has saved the club about £44m. Pique has given up cash for the Catalan giants before, taking wage cuts and deferring his salary in an attempt to help the club – but Barcelona will pay him for what they owe in deferred payments.

For Pique, this is not seen as the end of his association with Barcelona however, with the Spaniard having a desire to return to the Nou Camp as club president in the future.

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