Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has ruled out a return to Manchester United, insisting he wants to retire at the Camp Nou. The Spain international has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford, but says he’s happy with his current employers despite reports to the contrary.
The 27-year-old, who has been left out of Barcelona’s starting line-up by manager Luis Enrique on occasions this season because of his below-par performances, admitted it was nice to hear that Manchester United are interested - but says his mind is focused on Barca.
“I left a lot of friends there and was really happy there, even if I didn’t play as much as I wanted to,” he told reporters. “But I’ve always said I want to retire here and, if possible, stay here all my career.”
Pique added: “At this moment I’m not thinking about leaving, and I’m really happy if it’s true that United want me... but I want to stay.
“I’m a Barcelona fan, I have been since I was a kid, and I want to stay.”
"I’m really happy if it’s true that United want me... but I want to stay." - Gerard Pique.
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United are on the lookout for a new talismanic centre-back after a difficult start to the 2014-15 campaign and have identified the experienced Pique, who knows the club, to provide some much-needed leadership and quality.
But the Red Devils are not the only club interested in the £20 million-rated centre-back; it was reported on Friday that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is also keen.
Chelsea could be an attractive option for Pique after watching his former teammate, Cesc Fabregas, flourish at Stamford Bridge under Mourinho. The chance to step in for club captain John Terry, who could retire at the end of the season, may also appeal.
And perhaps, like Fabregas, if his season at Barcelona fails to pan out in the manner he hopes it will, he might reconsider his options at the end of the campaign.