500 games and still going strong: Pique's best moments at Barcelona

Oleh Stephen Creek 26 Ogos 2019 917
500 games and still going strong: Pique's best moments at Barcelona

Gerard Pique made his 500th Barcelona appearance when the LaLiga champions played Real Betis on Sunday and he sits proudly among the greatest defenders in the club's history.

The most decorated Barcelona defender of all time, Pique trails only Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta when it comes to honours won, and he can reflect on the memory of lifting no fewer than 29 trophies.

But there has been more to Pique's 11 years at Camp Nou than just silverware, and the 32-year-old has become renowned for his outspoken personality and uncompromising style.

To mark his milestone match, we take a look back at some of the moments that shaped a Barcelona great.

Unbeaten beginnings

Pique added steel to Barcelona's defence from the moment he arrived from Manchester United, with his first appearance for the club coming in a 4-0 victory over Wisla Krakow in the Champions League.

He made his LaLiga debut for Barca in a 1-1 draw against Racing Santander at Camp Nou on September 13, as the Blaugrana made an inauspicious start to a memorable 2008-09 season.

On target in Europe

Pique has scored goals in all of his 11 seasons at Barcelona, and his first goal in red and blue came against Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League.

After Lionel Messi put the visitors in front at Estadio Jose Alvalade, Pique made his presence felt in the opposition box and duly doubled Barca's lead from close range.

A goal in the Clasico

Real Madrid were on a hot streak when Barcelona arrived at the Bernabeu in May 2009, the capital side having won 17 of their previous 18 matches.

But the Blaugrana put them to the sword in a 6-2 thrashing, with Pique grabbing the last goal of a victory that all but etched Barcelona's name onto the title.

That was Pique's first league goal for Barcelona. Some way to announce yourself as a club superstar in the making.

Champions League vengeance

Pique was left out of Manchester United's squad when the Red Devils won the Champions League in 2008, but a year later he made up for that omission.

Barcelona went up against United in the 2009 Champions League final at Stadio Olimpico and Pique was at the heart of Pep Guardiola's defence as goals from Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o took Europe's top prize to Camp Nou.

Five finger salute

Pique's anti-Real Madrid stance has endeared him to the Camp Nou faithful ever since he enraged the Los Blancos fans back in November 2010.

After Barcelona thumped their old enemies 5-0, Pique held up five fingers to the Camp Nou crowd - a gesture known as the 'manita', or 'little hand', and the Madrid faithful have never forgiven him.

The second treble

After a glorious first season at Barcelona in which he won LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, Pique might have worried he had peaked too soon.

But any such concerns were blown away in 2014-15 when Pique starred in a 3-1 victory over Juventus in Berlin to clinch a historic second treble of domestic league, domestic cup and Champions League.

Old Trafford return

Pique described Old Trafford as his "second home" when Barcelona were drawn to play against Manchester United in the Champions League quarter-final and he relished the opportunity to return to the Theatre of Dreams.

An imperious performance from Pique helped Barca to a 1-0 victory that paved the way for a 3-0 second-leg win at Camp Nou, and United must have wished they had never let him leave for a paltry €5million back in August 2008.

Presidential ambition

In January 2018, Pique signed a contract to keep him at Camp Nou until 2022 with a buyout clause set at €500m.

The deal is expected to be the 32-year-old's last, and with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu set to stand down in 2021, there is perhaps no candidate to replace him who would be more popular than Pique, who has made no secret of his ambition to take charge of the club.

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Stephen Creek

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