Football

Barcelona: Is Gerard Pique world-class?

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Gerard Pique left Manchester United in 2008 for Barcelona after experiencing limited playing time during his stay in Old Trafford. 

Since then he has won a hoard of trophies and is a mainstay in both the Barcelona squad and the Spanish national team. 

As a result of this impeccable achievement, he is automatically considered 'world-class' and has subsequently been voted in the FIFA World XI. 

Based on facts, Pique could be described as legend using numerous superlatives anyone may find suitable but in reality his ability begs to differ.

Speed

For a player who plays for two teams who have very high lines, being slow can at times turn out to be a huge liability and Pique is definitely slow. 

For example, two seasons ago, AC Milan met Barcelona in the group stage of the Champions League for a game that turned out to be 2-2 draw. 

The first goal came when Alexandre Pato was naively surrounded by the whole Barcelona defence to which he proceeded to simply kick the ball forward and run after it almost like a school ground tactic, then slid it past a hopeless Victor Valdes. 

Pique - as you would notice in this situation - is far too slow to recover any ground on a quick striker. 

When dealing with static defenders, experience begins to count less and pace becomes an ultimate tool.

Tackling

Pique is neither the best defender at tackling and is often found wanting, especially when teams hit on the counter. 

The most recent example is the horrible tackle on Neymar which led to his subsequent red card in the Confederations Cup final. 

His turning is simply too slow for a world class player and the room he gives strikers to run into is simply incredible. 

Last season, although he played a lot of games, a fully fit Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano would leave Pique on the bench as his tackling becomes a liability to the team. 

Lack of speed combined with many mistimed tackles puts him at a huge disadvantage when being compared to other defenders who are supposedly on his level like Thiago Silva.

Concentration

Any defender whose game is based on reading play and intercepting intelligently cannot afford to lose their concentration at key moments. 

During the Champions League encounter with PSG, in the lead up to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal in the first leg, Pique lost focus and allowed Thiago Silva to get ahead of him during the set play. 

A second incident is the second game of the Champions League semi-final where Pique (1.92cm) allowed Muller (1.86cm and lightweight) to get the better of him which led to the first goal during a corner. 

At this stage, you cannot simply concede to getting beat outright by the opposition. 

Aggression

Pique is very good on the ball especially for a defender but like most ball-playing defenders he avoids getting physical with opposition strikers. 

In the national team he has Sergio Ramos while in Barcelona he has Puyol who do most of the 'dirty work' on strikers. 

If, as a defender you are going to avoid being 'dirty', you will have to overcompensate in other departments to prove your worth. 

Well, in all honesty both the teams that Pique plays for are focused on ball retention and he compensates by being superb passer of the ball. 

While he isn't required to defend much due to his team's gameplay when the time does come, he does not seem fully capable for the challenge.

Conclusion

Many specific incidents have been picked in the above article to describe Pique's deficiencies in defending, but it has to be said that they are many more that could be mentioned. 

These particular ones were used because they occurred in important matches where world class players are made to prove their worth and he simply failed in that regard.

 

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Topics:
Barcelona
Gerard Pique
Football
La Liga

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DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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