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Pique says goodbye in tears: Sometimes, to love is to let go

Tonight's match between Barcelona and Almeria won't soon be forgotten by the Blaugrana, or the footballing world as a whole.

The scoreline or which side comes out on top aren't the reasons why. Instead, it's because it marks Gerard Pique's last match at the Camp Nou.

He'll hang up his boots on Tuesday in Pamplona, but Saturday was all about the defender saying goodbye to his family, the Barcelona family, who showered him with countless displays of affection.

It's an emotional moment, one that won't soon be forgotten by the Camp Nou.

Pique surprised many by announcing his retirement last Thursday. His decision caught all Barcelona fans off guard.

Despite some ups and downs, especially in recent weeks, Pique has been a regular fixture in the starting XI for the past 15 seasons.

As a result the fans have shown much affection, thanking the defender for his commitment and love for Barcelona.

You can't forget his footballing abilities either, which have helped bring 30 titles to the Camp Nou.

Before the match against Almeria, a banner was unfurled in the center circle with the word Sempr3, a play on words with the Catalan defender's historic number '3'. During the warm-up, the defender also received applause from the stands every time he approached the corner.

And during the opening moments of the match, the fans chanted his name: Pique, Pique.

Every time he touched the ball, they applauded him. They also chanted Piquenbauer, which makes it clear it's his night.


The Barcelona players took the field wearing a special shirt with Pique's name written on the back, in addition to the word Sempr3, which appeared across their chest.

A video tribute for the player with the fifth most appearances in Barcelona's history will also be shown on the video scoreboard at the end of the match: 616 appearances, including today's game.

It isn't clear if the central defender will spare a few words for those in attendance at the Camp Nou once the match is over.

Either way, it's more of a goodbye than a farewell because Pique has already announced that he will return, probably as president one day.

For the moment however, he is calling it a day like the legend he is.

Pique leaves in tears

The moment came in the 83rd minute of the game against Almeria, when his number was held up by the assistant referee.

The Camp Nou rose to its feet, and the Barcelona players surrounded their captain, with each giving Pique a hug, as the emotion became too much for the defender with tears rolling down his cheeks.

An era comes to one end at the Camp Nou after 15 seasons. Pique ended his Barcelona career with a lap of honor and also paying tribute to the fans and club.

"First of all, thanks," Pique said at the end of the game. "To all my teammates, the staff, the people at the gym, the club.

"To everyone who helps us every day to make everything easier. Thanks to the Board for all these years.

"In life, when you get older, sometimes to want to let go can mean letting go (he starts to cry).

"A relationship of so much love, so much passion, I think it was time to give each other some space, to give each other some air, and I am convinced that in the future I will be here again."

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