Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has insisted that he enjoyed an amazing experience at Manchester United, reports the Daily Mail.
The Spanish international, who left the club under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, played alongside the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at the Theatre of Dreams, and he's claimed that United offered him the chance to develop as a player and a person.
Pique, of course, is set to line up for the Catalans in tomorrow's Champions League final as the Spanish giants go head-to-head with Italian champions Juventus.
Ahead of the showdown, the Barcelona man has reflected on his time at United, as he stated: "I moved to Manchester United when I was a 17-year-old kid. Nemanja Vidic was five years older than me and Rio Ferdinand nearly nine years and at the time they were the best central defenders in the world. They never had a bad game!
"I learned so much during my time at United. Sharing a dressing room with Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ryan Giggs at such a young age was an amazing experience. I didn’t play as much as I would have liked but it was a masters degree in development both as a player and a person.
"I know some have said since that I failed in the Premier League but, although I was in the shadow of two great players, I did contribute. In the 2008 Champions League campaign I played three times and scored two goals.
"I’ll always be grateful to Sir Alex, who was like a second father to me, for letting me move back to Barcelona. He wanted me to stay and fight for a place, but he understood what Barca meant to me."
Pique, then, will be hoping to keep another former United player at bay tomorrow evening, as he looks to shut out Carlos Tevez and Co. in Berlin.
Di Maria to stay at United
Argentine international Angel di Maria has confirmed that he will return to Manchester United after this summer's Copa America tournament.
As reported by The Sun, the former Real Madrid man, who endured a tricky debut campaign on English soil, has admitted that the Premier League is harder than La Liga, but now looks set to return to the Theatre of Dreams as he goes about getting his career back on track.
“I have just finished my first season playing for Manchester United.
“Now I will play the Copa America and then I will move back to Manchester for next season and do my best there. It was a hard season for me.
“I think it was hard because it was another country and another league, and this league is harder than the Spanish one. So, I couldn't adapt myself as I wanted to."
The Manchester Evening News, meanwhile, claim that Karim Benzema's agent is in talks with Manchester United over a summer transfer from Real Madrid. The French forward is seemingly being lined up to replace Colombian ace Radamel Falcao, who departed the club at the end of the campaign.
In fact, the same report goes on to reveal that the United hierarchy could yet press ahead with a £40 million move for Benzema, who would no doubt prove a fine coup for Van Gaal and Co. at Old Trafford.
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