Leaving it all on the field! Gerard Piqué announced that he is retiring from soccer less than four months after his split from longtime partner Shakira.
“The last few weeks, months, lots of people have been talking about me. Until now, I haven’t said anything. But now, I want to be the one talking about me,” Piqué, 35, said in a video posted via Twitter on Thursday, November 3, noting that FC Barcelona’s match against UD Almería on Saturday, November 5, will be his last game.
The Spain native shared that he has “always been a Barca fan” throughout his life, explaining that he was “born into a football-loving family of Barca fans” and knew from “a very young age” that he didn’t just want to play soccer — he wanted to play for FC Barcelona.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about that kid lately,” he said. “About what little Gerard would have thought if he had been told that all of his dreams would come true. That he would make it to Barca first team. That he would win every trophy possible. That he would become European Champion and World Champion. That he would play alongside the best players in history. That he would become one of the team’s captains. That he would make friends for life.”
The defender’s career began in 1997 at age 10 when he joined the club’s youth team U12B. In 2004, Piqué joined Manchester United in England, and four years later, he returned to his home city to play for FC Barcelona. The athlete has helped his team win various honors since, including three UEFA Champions League titles and three Club World Cups.
In his retirement message, Piqué explained that after 25 years playing the game, Barca “has given me everything,” but he’s ready to look ahead at what’s next.
“Now is the time to bring this journey to its end. I’ve always said that there would not be any other team after Barca. And that’s how it will be,” he said, before adding that he is looking forward to becoming a “real fan” off the field.
“I will pass my love for Barca to my children,” the World Cup champion, who shares sons Milan, 9, and Sasha, 7, with ex Shakira, gushed in the video clip. “Like my family did with me. And you know me, sooner or later, I’ll be back. I’ll see you at Camp Nou. Long live Barca. Always.”
This isn’t the only goodbye Piqué has made in the past few months. In June, the soccer player and the “She Wolf” singer, 45, announced that they called it quits after 12 years together.
“We regret to confirm that we are separating. For the wellbeing of our children, who are our highest priority, we ask that you respect their privacy,” the duo said in a joint statement to Reuters at the time.
Earlier that month, the twosome sparked split speculation after reports surfaced that Shakira caught Piqué having an affair. Neither of the exes have addressed the claims directly.
In September, the “Whenever, Wherever” songstress opened up to Elle about the difficulty of ending a long-term relationship while in the spotlight.
“I’ve remained quiet and just tried to process it all. It’s hard to talk about it, especially because I’m still going through it, and because I’m in the public eye and because our separation is not like a regular separation. And so, it’s been tough not only for me, but also for my kids,” she explained. “This is probably the darkest hour of my life. But then I think about all those women around the world who are going through hardship, who are going through a situation as bad as mine or as difficult as mine or worse.