Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique announced his retirement from the game a couple of days ago. He played his last match for the club aged 35 on Saturday, November 5, against Almeria. He kept a clean sheet as the Blaugrana secured a 2-0 win over the bottom-half team.
Pique has been on the books of Manchester United and Barcelona, with one season (2006-07) spent at Real Zaragoza on loan. The La Masia product left for United in 2004 and stayed with the Red Devils until 2008. He then returned to his boyhood club and attained legendary status with them.
Pique has made 616 appearances for the Catalans, tallying 53 goals and 15 assists. He has won a plethora of trophies with the La Liga outfit, including three UEFA Champions League trophies and eight league titles.
He also won one Champions League and Premier League title with United despite making only 22 appearances for them.
In his career of 18 years, the Spaniard has played for a host of managers at club level. Some have favored him more than others. On that note, here is a list of managers that Pique played the most domestic games under.
Xavi is a slightly surprising feature on this list given how tumultuous his relationship with former teammate Gerard Pique has been. Xavi took over the Catalan club’s reins in November 2021. His time in the dugout coincided with the worst spell of Pique’s career.
The defender was plagued by the loss of form, injuries, increasing competition for spots, and off-field issues as well, most notably his split with long-time partner Shakira. He lost the backing of the fans who were now calling for him to retire, which he did, making Xavi the last manager he played under.
While it may have felt like Pique had lost Xavi’s trust and the midfielder preferred the likes of Eric Garcia and Jules Kounde, he did play 37 games under the current Barcelona manager. Seven of these games saw him coming off the bench. He scored one goal and picked up 10 yellow cards in this period.
Notably, Pique played lesser minutes (2,781) under the former Al Sadd manager than he did for Ronald Koeman (2,812). However, the number of games he played under Koeman stands at 35, putting the Dutch manager sixth on the list, one spot below Xavi.
#4 Gerardo Martino
Martino managed Barcelona for the 2013-14 season and Gerard Pique was a key player for the Argentine manager.
Pique played 39 games in that period, scoring four goals and picking up seven yellow cards for Martino from July 2013 to June 2014. He played 3,393 minutes of action, which averaged out to 87 minutes per game.
This meant that he was playing the full 90 minutes almost every time. He started all 39 games he played, and was taken off only four times.
Martino quit after only a year with the Blaugrana as he failed to win any trophy apart from the Supercopa de Espana that season.
#3 Ernesto Valverde
Largely unpopular with Barcelona fans, there’s no denying that Valverde has been one of the Catalan club’s better coaches in recent times. In the dugout for two-and-a-half years (June 2017-January 2020), he won two back-to-back league titles with Barcelona.
Out of the 145 games he oversaw, Pique featured in 124, scoring 13 goals and assisting a further four. He was cautioned 32 times and also scored one own goal under Valverde.
Pique amassed 10,888 minutes of game time under the Athletic Bilbao manager, an average of nearly 89 minutes per game. Again, Pique started almost every game he played, coming off the bench only once under Valverde. He was taken off only eight times as well.
#4 Luis Enrique
The most successful Barcelona manager in the last decade, Enrique was in charge of the club for three years (2014-2017) and won all the titles available. The Blaugrana’s last Champions League triumph was under Enrique in 2015, in addition to the two league titles he won.
Gerard Pique featured in 131 games from the 181 matches Enrique was in the dugout for. The defender bagged 15 goals and two assists while also racking up 35 yellow cards. He was on the pitch for 11,455 minutes, which comes out to 87 minutes per game.
Like under Valverde, Pique came off the bench only once, starting the match for all his other appearances. He was taken off a mere 13 times across Lucho’s spell in Barcelona.
#5 Pep Guardiola
Arguably the greatest Barcelona manager since Johan Cruyff, Guardiola was at the helm for four incredibly successful years from 2008 to 2012. Two Champions League trophies and three league titles are just some of the trophies the Blaugrana won under the Spaniard.
Guardiola managed the side for 247 games, while Gerard Pique played 183 of them. The current Manchester City manager was the one who gave Pique his Barcelona debut in August 2008.
He scored 13 goals and provided seven assists in those 183 games, while also having 46 yellow cards and two straight reds to his name. Guardiola gave Pique 15,048 minutes, which is just about 82 minutes per game. He came off the bench 14 times, while he was taken off 21 times.
The slight spike in numbers was caused by the presence of the likes of Carles Puyol and Rafael Marquez, who provided stiff competition to Gerard Pique for the centre-back slots.
Overall in his club career, Pique played under 12 managers. He made a total of 667 appearances, tallying 68 goals, 14 assists, 165 yellow cards, and five straight reds.
He won a whopping 34 trophies in total across his spells with Manchester United and Barcelona. Regardless of how he divides fan opinion, he will undoubtedly go down as a legend of the game.