Gerard Pique opens up on “big favor” from Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Barcelona move in 2008

Gerard Pique opens up on “big favor” from Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Barcelona move in 2008

Former Manchester United defender Gerard Piqué has opened up on his move to Barcelona as he revealed some of the interesting facts of his career. Piqué, one of the most successful players in the history of the Champions League with four titles famously moved to childhood club Barcelona having won the European honour with English giants in 2008. Pique also had then-Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to thank as he played a key role in his departure.

Gerard Pique opens up on Barcelona move

Piqué on Sir Alex Ferguson: “The moment I asked to leave, I told him [Sir Alex Ferguson] that he should let me go because it was my dream to join Barcelona. He told me he wouldn’t ask for a lot of money, £5M I think, so he did me a big favor.”

A graduate from the famous La Masia academy of Barcelona alongside the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, Pique was sold to Manchester United in 2004. Competition and lack of first-time opportunities had forced the move for the Spanish defender with compatriot Fabregas moving to Arsenal.

During his four years at Manchester United, Pique enjoyed a successful spell and won the league title in 2008. He was loaned out to fellow Spanish club Real Zaragoza where he made 22 appearances in the league. This prompted Sir Alex to give him an opportunity in the first team despite the arrival of future captain Nemanja Vidic and the presence of Rio Ferdinand in the side.

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Pique made only 13 appearances in United’s double-winning campaign in 2007-08 where they beat Chelsea in both Premier League and Champions League. At the end of the season, he was approached by his boyhood club Barcelona and presented the opportunity to play for them where he would be a first choice, unlike a third choice in the United ranks.

Alex Ferguson sold Gerard Pique in 2008

With no resistance offered by Sir Alex, Pique was sold to Barcelona for a mere $6 million while the Euro 2008 was around the corner. He would go on to enjoy a successful spell at Barcelona partnering the likes of Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano to add further silverware to his cabinet. He also partnered with Puyol in Spain and bagged the FIFA World Cup title and the Euro.

He won the 2009 Champions League, becoming just the third player to win back-to-back titles but with different clubs. Samuel Eto in 2010 was the last and fourth player to achieve the rare feat when he won titles with Barcelona (2009) and Inter Milan (2010).

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