Pique in tears as he waves goodbye to Barcelona fans on final appearance
Gerard Pique was seen welling up as he waved goodbye to the Barcelona fans following his final appearance for the club on Saturday.
The 35-year-old shocked the footballing world earlier this week after announcing his sudden retirement, with Barcelona's clash with Almeria being his last as a professional. After captaining the side to a 2-0 win, Pique looked visibly moved as he performed a lap of honour around the Camp Nou pitch before giving a speech to the crowd on the pitch.
"I was born here and I will die here," Pique said. "When you get older, you realise that sometimes to love is to let go. I'm convinced that I'll be here again in the future.
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"I love Barca. That's why I consider it's the right moment to go. This is not a goodbye."
Ahead of the game, Pique walked out onto the pitch with his two sons by his side, as all of his team-mates wore shirts with his name and number three on the back. A huge banner was also erected on the pitch that said 'Sempr3' (For3ver) and a video celebrating Pique's career was played on the big screen to the fans as well.
Barcelona won an early penalty and fans began chanting Pique's name, urging him to take it. But the centre back pointed to Robert Lewandowski, who stepped up scuffed his effort wide.
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Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong scored the second-half goals to seal victory for Barcelona, who leapfrogged Real Madrid to the top of La Liga.
Pique leaves having made over 600 appearances for the club, winning 30 major honours, including eight La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues. Only Lionel Messi (35) and Andreas Iniesta (32) have won more at Barcelona.
His retirement comes just months after he and long-term partner Shakira announced an end to their relationship following accusations of infidelity.
It also comes amid significant financial strife between Barcelona and many of their senior players, particularly those (like Pique) on big wages, who have been urged to take sizable pay cuts to help ease the club's monetary problems.
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