Former Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has admitted that he misses playing competitive football at Spotify Camp Nou, although he also said that he does not regret his decision to retire from professional football.
Pique, 36, announced that he would retire from the sport on November 5 last year and since then, he has ventured into the business aspect of the sport. Speaking in an interview with journalist Jordi Baste on RAC1 (h/t SPORT), the former defender admitted,
“I miss competing and the locker room and training. I miss competing, but I haven’t played sports for more than a year.
“I miss competing at the Camp Nou to win, but I don’t regret it. There is a moment that comes to you and that’s it. I’m proud of how everything went,” he said.
He is not interested in Madrid
The former defender was asked whether he is still following Barcelona and Real Madrid, to which he said although he is keeping track of the Blaugrana, he is not paying much attention to Real Madrid.
“Madrid, for example, I no longer follow. When you’re out of the circle I’m only interested in whether Barça wins.
“When the sensations are not so good, criticism comes because we have that level of demand. But for those of us who are used to it, it is something we know: just winning is not worth it.
“Winning at the last minute is not worth it; in Madrid, they would be delighted and here we think that it was not played well,” he added.
The 36-year-old also said that there is a good mix of veterans and young players in the team, saying this kind of balance brings positivity in the team.
“There is a very good mix and this balance is very positive. But there are many things like there has to be a competitive team. There are many young players who two days ago were playing in the reserve team and they have to get better at it.”
Pique’s take on young players
It is worth noting that Pique is indeed keeping a close eye on the players coming into the senior team from La Masia and when asked about the likes of Lamine Yamal and Fermin Lopez, he said,
“I had shared some training with Lamine, the other two have been a surprise. They don’t have to have the responsibility. We can’t think that Fermín will make us win the Champions League in these first two years.”
On the other hand, he also asked fans to have some patience with Xavi, saying, “We have to be patient with the project. Xavi knows the house and has mastered the game model. I don’t see anyone better than Xavi to take this forward.”
Furthermore, when asked if he is still in touch with Xavi, he said, “I haven’t spoken to Xavi since I left. Well yes… on the day of the league title celebration, he invited me in case I wanted to join the celebration. With Laporta? I do speak with him, yes, and very well.”
Negreira case and possibility of becoming Barcelona president
Pique was asked about Barcelona’s ongoing battle in the Negreira case, to which he said, “It is scary that people say we won because of the referees. There is an attempt to distort history to tarnish our achievements.”
“They are in the middle of the process and at the end of everything it will be possible to explain it better.
“The narrative is being turned. Sociological Madridismo? This is a country with more people from Madrid than from Barça. We will always be the ones who are on the side and want to bother,” he added.
Asked if he would ever return to Barcelona as president, he said, “I don’t rule it out, but I don’t have it in my head. It’s very sacrificial, you put everything in for the good of the club without financial benefit. I would only consider it because of the connection because I feel that I owe the club a lot.”
Pique’s thoughts on Girona and Real Madrid players
Girona happens to top the La Liga standing at the moment, and Pique is of the idea that they might do a Leicester this season. “It’s scary. They’re getting the face of Leicester. It’s a unique project and it’s incredible how they play, how they combine.”
On Real Madrid, he said, “Real Madrid will reach the decisive moment of the Champions League. I always say it: our way of doing things and how we push ourselves, when we win it is remembered forever.
“The last one they won was a miracle, but it will not be remembered.”
When asked about Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham, he said, “I’ve always liked playing against players like that. You had to be very focused, but what sets me off are the challenges. But life is all about stages.
“Bellingham? A great player, ugh, very complete, he has everything,” he added.