The last time a defender of this stature was walking into the twilight of his career, the Barcelona club management couldn't have been worried. Carles Puyol had groomed his understudy, Gerard Pique, that well.
However, the years have rolled by and soon, it'll be Gerard Pique's turn to hand over the defensive responsibilities to someone. That is if Barcelona can find a player who can do what Pique has done over the past decade and more.
As such, let's take a look at:
5 potential replacements for Gerard Pique at Barcelona
#5 Ronaldo Araujo - Barcelona B
The 21-year-old Uruguayan centre-back currently plays for Barcelona B. Araujo's name is mentioned often as a serious contender to succeed Gerard Pique. Though he's only 21 years old, Araujo's defensive capabilities and positional awareness are proof of his maturity.
Also, standing at 191 cms, he is quite a physical presence at the back. With a frame that can't be easily negotiated with, he will be able to dominate aerial balls almost at par with Pique who stands at 194 cms.
Araujo, despite earning a red card on his first senior starting role, is a player worthy enough to lead Barcelona's backline and has shown over the years that he is a quick learner who can adapt easily.
When they have an option as good as Araujo on their books, should Barcelona really be looking in other places?
#4 Eric Garcia - Manchester City
Manchester City centre-back Eric Garcia is a Barcelona academy product who left the club at 17. Now, Barcelona are reportedly in the race to sign the 19-year-old from Manchester City as a potential replacement for Gerard Pique.
Garcia is well versed with the Barcelona style of play and under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, he has received the lessons from perhaps the most ideal person he could if he were to return to his former club.
With a positional sense and awareness that's beyond his age, Eric Garcia compensates for his lack of height with his excellent reading of the game. Also, as a ball playing centre-back, he is always going to be an easy fit at Barcelona.