Ferdinand pays tribute to ex-Red Pique

Sunday 06 November 2022 12:00

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has paid a personal tribute to his former team-mate and opponent Gerard Pique, who retired from football on Saturday.

Barcelona icon Pique was given an emotional standing ovation as he made his final Nou Camp appearance in their 2-0 La Liga win over Almeria.

The 35-year-old Catalan was substituted in the 84th minute and he tearfully embraced his team-mates, manager Xavi and the entire bench as the curtain came down on his illustrious career.

Gerard left Barcelona’s Academy for United in 2004 and he went on to make 23 appearances as a Red, becoming a part of the squad that won a Premier League and Champions League double in 2007/08. After four years in Manchester, he returned to his boyhood club to live his dream. 

To say that decision was a success in an understatement: Pique played 616 games for Barcelona and won an astonishing 30 trophies, including eight La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues. Two of those European Cup wins came at our cost, unfortunately, as Ferdinand recalls all too well. 


Rio has used his Instagram to pay tribute to his friend and his trophy-laden career, expressing his opinion the World Cup winner must be considered one of football’s greatest centre-backs. 

“My man, what a career,” writes Ferdinand. “Many people don’t know but I actually played one of the biggest parts in making you [laughs]. 

“The fact that myself and Nemanja [Vidic] were playing at Man Utd you never had a chance….so you had to move on to Barcelona! That was my part in catapulting you to greatness!

“But seriously, when you went to Barcelona I don’t even think that you could imagine your career would go as crazy as it went - trophies galore with both club and country. One thing you had to do when you left was mature, you did this so quickly because your intelligence took over. A mainstay in both teams, that many consider the best teams EVER!

“I hear debates about the best CB’s of this era and I don’t see your name enough… without you at Barcelona, do they play out from the back as smoothly, would they of had the personality in that area in the big moments to take the ball & to be brave? We will never know but you were there doing that year after year - quietly & effectively. Respect my man for a truly great career.”

Everyone at Manchester United wishes Gerard well for the future.