Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Pique plays D with style
by Mike Woitalla, June 15th, 2010 2:02PM
Subscribe to Special Edition

TAGS:  spain, world cup


[PORTRAIT] When he was 12 years old and a member of Barcelona’s youth program, Gerard Pique was taken aside by then coach Louis van Gaal and the Dutchman told the boy he was too stubborn to ever make it as a Barcelona defender. Pique proved van Gaal wrong, and then some.

Pique recalls that he went home and cried after van Gaal’s assessment. But it also inspired him.

The grandson of Amador Bernabeu, a former Barcelona vice president, Pique played in Barca’s cantera with Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas. Like Fabregas, Pique moved to England before breaking into to Barca’s first team.

Pique debuted for Man U at age 17 in a 2004 League Cup game. He played sparingly for Man U during his five-year stint, but scored twice in its run to the 2008 Champions League title.

He returned to Barcelona for the 2008-09 season and helped Barca become the first Spanish team to win the La Liga, Spanish Cup and Champions League treble.

Pique’s stylish play at central back, breaking up attacks with smarts more than brawn, and his ability to hit perfect long-range passes, earned him the nickname “Piquenbauer,” a reference to legendary German libero Franz Beckenbauer.

And like Beckenbauer, the 23-year-old Pique frequently ventures into the attack. He has scored four goals in 16 appearances for Spain since debuting in February of 2009.

Pique says at Manchester United he improved his tackling, aerial play and positioning, but returning to Barcelona was a dream come true.

And Barcelona fans welcomed back their Catalan prodigal son. His replica jerseys outsold Messi’s last Christmas.

For Spain, Pique has strengthened a backline that had been already been good enough to win the 2008 European Championship.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Special Edition
What They're Saying    
"I'd like to think that we're closing the gap and hopefully one day we can do ...
Heroes of Genoa: USA downs Italy!     
[ITALY-USA] The USA celebrated its biggest win of the Jurgen Klinsmann era when it prevailed 1-0 ...
Morgan leads USA past Danes    
[ALGARVE CUP] Alex Morgan continued her hot streak, scoring in each half to lead the USA ...
MLS preseason this week ...    
[SCOREBOARD] Eleven MLS teams will be in action Wednesday in the four tournaments being played across ...
Qatar, Oman in, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain out    
[WORLD CUP 2014 QUALIFYING] Mohammed Kasola's goal in the 83rd minute gave Qatar a 2-2 tie ...
Reggae Boyz sweep three games in week    
[WORLD CUP 2014 COUNTDOWN] Jamaica, which will face the USA in the semifinal round of World ...
Reyna and Meola head Class of 2012    
[HALL OF FAME] Claudio Reyna and Tony Meola, eligible on the Player ballot for the first ...
Italy-USA Minute by Minute    
[INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY] A well-constructed goal by Clint Dempsey -- his 25th for the USA -- in ...
Ferdinand and Lampard not in Pearce's squad    
[ENGLAND] Interim coach Stuart Pearce's first squad includes newcomers Fraizer Campbell and Tom Cleverley, but veterans ...
Klinsmann sets roster for Italy clash    
[USA MEN] Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in a 21-man roster with 17 foreign-based and four ...
>> Special Edition Archives