Barcelona vice captain Gerard Piqué announced his retirement from soccer Thursday. Saturday’s home match against Almería will be his last at Camp Nou.
The 35-year-old is regarded one of the best defenders of his generation, and the list of trophies he has won is extensive. Piqué returned to Barcelona in 2008 from Manchester United and has played 615 games for the Catalan Club.
Barcelona will play one more match after the Almería game before the international break for the World Cup in Qatar. Piqué already announced his retirement from international soccer in 2018 after a nine-year career with Spain.
“Football has given me everything, Barca have given me everything, you the fans have given me everything. And now my childhood dreams have been fulfilled, the moment has arrived to close this chapter,” Piqué explained in a video statement on Twitter.
“I always said that after Barcelona there will be no other club, and that is the way it is going to be,” said Piqué. “I will become another fan after. I will support the team and transmit my love for the club to my kids”
Piqué has scored 52 goals for Barcelona. In addition to the trio of European Cups, he helped Barcelona win eight Spanish League titles and seven Copa del Rey crowns. He was a part of the starting team for all the Champions League finals played and won by Barcelona during his time with the club.
The defender made 102 appearances with Spain, scoring five times. He helped his country win the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship, starting in both finals.
Piqué stood out from other players for his interest in business ventures that he started while still performing on the field. He is the owner of second division club Andorra and successfully overhauled tennis’ Davis Cup through his company Kosmos. Piqué has even said he would possibly consider a run at becoming the future president of Barcelona at some point.
Some of his business dealings have been subject to criticism. Piqué’s involvement in relocating the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia was criticized due to the Middle East country’s human rights record.
After being a starter most of his career, Piqué lost his starting job this season after Barcelona brought in new players at his center back position.
His retirement comes after he and several other veterans had their wages reduced and deferred at various points to help the club with its financial situation.
Regarding financial details still to be ironed out, club President Joan Laporta explained that Piqué “understands the club’s situation regarding fair play and the sports wage bill, and the truth is that he’s very willing to help the club.”
“Sooner or later, I will be back. See you at Camp Nou. Visca Barca, always and forever,” Piqué said at the conclusion of his announcement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.