Barcelona star 'very proud' of Manchester United past

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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique says he is 'very proud' of his time at Manchester United - and believes his time at Old Trafford successfully helped shape his career.

Pique left Barcelona to join Manchester United as a 17-year-old in 2004, turning out 23 times for the Red Devils before returning to the Nou Camp in 2008.

Since going back to his boyhood club, the 26-year-old has won La Liga three times and the Champions League twice, helping to beat Manchester United in both finals in 2009 and 2011.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Pique, said his time at Old Trafford, in which he claimed a Champions League winners medal in 2008, helped set him up to go on and be successful with Barcelona.

"The kid who went to Manchester was a boy of 17 who found himself in a changing room full of stars and had a wonderful time," he said. "I remember when I was called to train with the first team, it was wonderful.

"That prepared me for what was coming, for the return to Barcelona. Without that pressure, I would have been a bit green when I came her.

"I am very proud of my three years there, of having decided to go to Manchester first - at 17 it was the perfect time for me to leave home because it helped make me as a person.

"I am proud to have been part of a Sir Alex Ferguson team. Even though every time I meet him I tell him that he got it wrong with me!"

Pique returned to Barcelona in a deal with around £4 million having failed to establish himself in Manchester United's first team ahead of the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

But the Spaniard, who was part of his country's World Cup winning squad in 2010, says it was the call of returning home which lured him back to Catalonia above all else.

"You want to come back," he said. "This [Barcelona] is the best club in the world, you get titles, enjoy the style, are at home. If you leave it is because you don't see the road clear to the top.

"When Cesc [Fabregas] and I left, in the same year, we had a great team with Messi in it. We were beating everybody but I took the risk of leaving all that behind and test myself.

"But everybody that leaves does so thinking, 'I will be back one day'."

Gerard Pique
Premier League
Manchester United
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