With his combination of intelligence, personality and skill, Gerard Piqué is considered one of the best central defenders in the world and a key player for the FC Barcelona team. Piqué was brought back FC Barcelona by Josep Guardiola in the summer of 2008 after three seasons at Manchester United and one on loan to Real Zaragoza and immediately established himself on the first team.
Gerard Piqué was born on February 2nd 1987 and was made a member of FC Barcelona on the very same day by his grandfather Amador Bernabeu, a former vice-president of the club. He joined the Barça youth system in 1997 at the age of 10 under Tito Vilanova, who later became Guardiola's assistant and then first team coach until his death in 2014.
In 2003, a sixteen-year-old Gerard Piqué signed for Manchester United with whom he played for two seasons before spending a season on loan with Real Zaragoza. Back at Manchester for the double winning 2007-08 season, Piqué was signed by Pep Guardiola when he took over the reins of the FC Barcelona first team in the summer of 2008 and made his debut on August 13th in the 4-0 win over Wisła Kraków in the Champions League qualifiers.
In his first season at Camp Nou, Piqué clearly showed why he had been signed and played 45 games scoring three goals, one in each competition. His confidence in defence, confidence in the middle of the pitch and ability to join the attack, particularly in set pieces, earned him the nickname Piquenbauer, after the German legend Franz Beckenbauer. The first season was an incredible success as Pep Guardiola's Barça won the Liga and Champions League double.
The Liga stayed in Camp Nou in the following season and Gerard Piqué confirmed his reputation as one of the best central defenders in the world alongside Carles Puyol.
In the 2010-11 season, Piqué's role was even more crucial due to Puyol and Milito's injuries and Abidal's illness and he played a total of 51 matches. In the final of the Champions League, he faced his former club Manchester United, who Barça beat 3-1 at Wembley to win the Champions League for the second time in three seasons.
His fourth season was plagued by injury, although he did help to win the Spanish Super Cup, the World Clubs Cup and the Copa del Rey. In his fifth season 2012-13, following Pep Guardiola's departure, Piqué was crucial to Tito Vilanova's system and FC Barcelona won the Liga with a record-breaking 100 points.
The 2013-14 season was marked by Tito Vilanova's death from cancer just before the start of the season. Tata Martino did what he could as coach but the season was something a disaster for FC Barcelona, in general, and Gerard Piqué, in particular, as the level of his game dropped significantly.
Since Luis Enrique's arrival as coach at the start of the 2014-15, Piqué is back to his old self and has actively participated in flurry of trophies, including two Ligas and a Champions League. As we begin the 2016ñ17 season, things are looking good for both club and player.
After playing for Spain in the under-17, under-19 and under-20 teams, Gerard Piqué made his international debut under Vicente del Bosque on January 11th 2009 in a friendly against England. Since then he has been a fixture on the international side and helped Spain win both the 2010 South Africa World Cup and the 2012 Poland-Ukraine European Championship.
He was also a key player in the 2014 Brazil World Cup and this summer's European Championships in France. Following Del Bosque's departure, Gerard Piqué looks set to be a key player for new Spain coach Julen Lopetegui.
At 1m 93 and weighing 85k, Gerard Piqué cuts an imposing figure in the centre of the defence and he uses his size to blindside opposing attackers. He has excelent positional play and is particularly strong in the air, participating in many set pieces. His obvious confidence means that when Barça are against the ropes, he is capable of joining the attack and has been responsible for a number of match-winning goals.
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