March 24, 2023

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has said he has doubt Gerard Pique will one day become a “great president of Barcelona.”

Pique, 35, announced his retirement professional football on Thursday, with Saturday’s LaLiga clash against Almeria his last game at the Camp Nou.

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The veteran Barcelona defender, whose grandfather was a club board member, has spoken in the past about his ambition to become club president and said in a video on Thursday that “sooner or later I will be back.”

“I have no doubt,” Tebas told Spanish radio network COPE of the possibility that Pique will one day preside over Barca.

“He has three qualities to become Barcelona president. He has been at the club for 25 years. He knows the world of football as a player, and he knows the industry of football and sports as a businessman.”

“He knows they are very different facets. He’s had experience of decision making as a businessman, with his success and failures, and he can become a great president of Barcelona. I believe he can. I believe he has the capacity to do so.”

Pique is founder and president of Kosmos, a company that leads sports, media and entertainment ventures. Among their projects are the Tennis David Cup and ownership of FC Andorra.

FC Andorra have risen from the fifth-tier of Spanish football to the country’s second division in just four years.

Kosmos also acted as intermediary in the Royal Spanish Football Federation’s deal for Saudi Arabia to host the Spanish Super Cup.

“He is very young, and he has many years to become Barcelona president,” Tebas said. “He knows you need to have experience to take on the role of president of one of the biggest clubs, if not among the top two clubs in the world. “

Pique, who won 102 caps for Spain, retired from international football in 2018 at 31 having lifted the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship.

“One of the best defenders in Spain and in the world is retiring,” Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales said. “Pique’s decision has surprised me.”

Barca president Joan Laporta said Pique’s decision was not sudden but “much meditated.”

Pique is under contract with Barca until June 2024 but had lost his place as a regular starter.

“It’s always hard to take that decision [to retire],” Laporta said. “We are specifying the [terms] of contract termination.

“What I want to say is that there is a great willingness on the part of the player to help the club. Gerard fully understands the club’s financial fair play situation. The sports wage bill requires an adjustment, he knows it and has a great willingness to help the club.”

Pique joined the club’s academy in 1997 before leaving for Manchester United in 2004.

After four years in Manchester, which included a season-long loan back in Spain with Real Zaragoza, he returned to Barca in 2008.

Pique is fifth on the Barca’s all-time appearance list and has won 30 titles.

“He will always be a reference for the culers [Barca fans],” Laporta said “He has clearly shown how much he loves Barca. He has been linked to the club for 25 years. He has achieved everything with this club. It has been an honour to have him as a Barca player.”

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