Pique, a product of the legendary Barça academy La Masia, has played for the club more than 550 times since returning from Manchester United in 2008.

Gerard Pique is going to retire at Barcelona

Gerard Pique says he plans to retire at Barcelona and believes Lionel Messi is “thrilled” at Camp Nou. Pique, a product of the legendary Barça academy La Masia, has played for the club more than 550 times since returning from Manchester United in 2008. He turned 34 this week, and while he didn’t assume retirement was on his mind right away, he has no desire to play for another club before hanging up his boots. “I’m going to retire at Barça. I’ve always said that,” Pique told reporters. “I play football because I represent Barça and I don’t see myself on the other team. I wouldn’t have the motivation, and it would be drama.” When Piqued does step aside, he thinks Barça already have his long-term replacement at the club in 21-year-old Uruguay international Ronald Araujo.

Ronald Araujo is Pique’s long-term replacement at the club

“Araujo is an excellent centre-defender and will be for 10 or 15 years. He has everything. The Uruguayan is very young and has a perfect head. He is also physically strong, fast and powerful, has good ball control. La Masia works very well, and during his time in Segunda B with the youth team, he matured, and now with the first team, he seized the opportunity. We need to help him become the best player possible.” Of course, the player whose future is on the fans’ minds is Messi. Messi came out of his contract at the end of the season and was heavily involved with moving away. Reports exclusively revealed that Messi has not held talks with any other clubs and will not decide his future until the end of the season – but for now Pique believes that he is happy at Camp Nou.

“It happened in a summer that ended in the best possible way because Leo stayed at Barça,” he said. “I see him very happy right now, and having him by my side is a guarantee of success.” Pique was also looking forward to the upcoming presidential elections at Barça, due on March 7. “The elections are now, and I hope the members will vote within the Covid restrictions. All three candidates are competent. We need to look to the future.”