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Gerard Piqué Bernabeu ( ; born 2 February 1987 in Barcelonamarker, Cataloniamarker) is a Spanishmarker footballer, currently playing as a centre back for Barcelona.

A product of Barça's cantera, he initially left the club for Manchester United in 2004, where he remained for four years, before returning to Barcelona under Josep Guardiola's leadership, and helping Barça to become the first Spanish club ever to complete the treble. Piqué is the third player – after Marcel Desailly and Paulo Sousa – to have won the UEFA Champions League two years in a row with different teams.

Piqué has also represented the Spanish national team, making his debut on 11 February 2009, and as of September 2009, he has earned 12 caps, scoring 4 goals.

Club career

Early career

Piqué started his career in Barcelona's youth teams, but before he signed his first professional contract with the club, he decided to join Manchester United. The Premier League side did not pay a fee for Piqué as he was too young to have a professional contract.

Manchester United

Piqué made his debut for Manchester United in October 2004, as a late replacement for John O'Shea in a 3–0 League Cup victory at Crewe Alexandramarker. He made his full debut on 29 March 2006 against West Ham United, in a Premier League match at Old Traffordmarker, playing at right back, as Gary Neville was unavailable through injury.

His performances, most notably in the reserve team, earned him a new contract, which he signed in February 2005 to run until the summer of 2009. On 4 August 2006, however, La Liga side Real Zaragoza secured Piqué on a season-long loan. The conditions of the loan involved Piqué having to feature in at least 20 games for the Aragonesemarker outfit, which he did, as he made 22 first team appearances in a successful spell, alongside Argentinemarker Gabriel Milito (who would sign with Barça for 2007–08), either as a stopper or a holding midfielder.

On 5 May 2007, it was announced that Piqué would be staying at Old Trafford for the following season. Sir Alex Ferguson had intended to assess Pique's form on the 6th at La Romaredamarker, prior to a meeting, where the two parties would discuss Pique's future prospects with the club. However, Ferguson was unable to appear on account of airline difficulties.

Piqué's return to Old Trafford saw him make nine league appearances during the 2007–08 season. He scored on his first start in the Champions League, a 4–0 home win against Dynamo Kyiv on 7 November 2007, as Piqué scored the first of Manchester United's four goals in that match. In doing so, he became the 450th player to score at least one goal for the club. His second goal for the club also came in the Champions League, in an away match to Roma on 12 December 2007.

Return to Barcelona

On 27 May 2008, Piqué signed a four-year contract with Barcelona, with a 50 million buy-out clause. Barcelona paid an undisclosed fee for the player. He expressed his joy at re-signing with his boyhood club, although he admitted he had enjoyed his spell at Manchester United;

Piqué's first goal for Barcelona came in the club's 5–2 UEFA Champions League group stage win at Sporting CP on 26 November 2008. His first domestic goal for the club followed two months later, on 29 January 2009, in a Copa del Rey match against local rivals Espanyol. The goal, which came from a corner kick in the 57th minute, turned out to be the game winner in a 3–2 victory for Barcelona.

Piqué scored his first league goal for Barcelona on 2 May 2009, in a 6–2 away thrashing of Real Madrid, in El Clásico. On 13 May 2009, he picked up the first trophy of his Barcelona career as he helped his club to a 4–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the domestic cup final. Three days later, Barcelona clinched the league title after Real Madrid lost 3-2 to Villarreal, with two games left in the season.

He played against his former club Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League Final on 27 May, which Barcelona won 2–0, hence completing an historic treble. He became the third player to win the European Cup or Champions League in two successive years with two different teams, along with Marcel Desailly and Paulo Sousa. On 31 October 2009, Pique denied Barcelona victory against Osasuna by scoring a last minute own goal, the game ended 1-1.

International career

Piqué was a member of the Spain under-19 side that won the 2006 U-19 European Championship in Polandmarker. In a 2–1 final win against Scotland, Piqué put in a strong performance in defence, hitting the crossbar with a header, and also providing his team's second goal for striker Alberto Bueno.

Subsequently, he played in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, starting all six of Spain's matches and scoring a goal in the team's come-from-behind 4–2 victory over Brazil in the round of 16. However, Piqué missed the deciding penalty against the Czech Republic and Spain were eliminated at the quarter-final stage.

On 6 February 2009, Piqué was called up to the senior squad for the friendly against England on 11 February. He played the entire match in a 2–0 win, in Sevillemarker.

On 28 March 2009, he was called-up as a replacement for injured teammate Carles Puyol, and ended up scoring the only goal in Spain's victory in the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Turkey in Madridmarker, in what was only his second appearance. Four days later, he also started in Istanbulmarker in a 2–1 win, also in the group stage.



 


Club statistics

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 2004–05 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 3 0
2005–06 3 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
2006–07 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Real Zaragoza (loan) 2006–07 22 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 26 3
Total 22 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 26 3
Manchester United 2007–08 9 0 0 0 1 0 3 2 0 0 13 2
Total 12 0 3 0 4 0 4 2 0 0 23 2
Barcelona 2008–09 25 1 6 1 14 1 0 0 45 3
2009–10 12 2 0 0 5 1 3 0 20 3
Total 37 3 6 1 19 2 3 0 65 6
Career total 69 3 13 2 4 0 23 4 3 0 114 11


Statistics accurate as of match played 29 November 2009

Personal life

Piqué was raised in a wealthy Catalan family. His father is a lawyer, and his mother is the director of a medical institute. His grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, is the former vice-president of FC Barcelona.

Piqué has dated model turned Bollywood actress and Miss Universe UK 2008, Lisa Lazarus.

Honours

Club

Manchester United


Barcelona


Country

Spain U19


Individual



References

  1. personal records
  2. http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid=%7BC7DF7CEC-3BC3-4859-A3FD-FE4AAD215DD8%7D&newsid=317686&page=1
  3. {{cite web |url=http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={B4CEE8FA-9A47-47BC-B069-3F7A2F35DB70}&newsid=424886 |title=Pique set for OT return |work=ManUtd.com |publisher=Manchester United |first=Ben |last=Hibbs |date=5 April 2005 |accessdate=18 May 2008 }}
  4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/7076590.stm
  5. Roma 1 Manchester United 1: Pique's joy on pitch marred by violence off it
  6. Piqué comes back home
  7. Spain sweep into U19 final
  8. Bueno double gives Spain glory
  9. Spain - Czech Republic Match Report
  10. International Friendly: Spain completely outclass England
  11. Del Bosque Analyses Spain's Turkey Win
  12. Turkey 1-2 Spain: Riera earns comeback victory
  13. Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield, Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup


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