Gerard Pique boasts a trophy cabinet that few players in world football can match.
The Barcelona and Spain defender has flourished as a key member of a golden era for both his club and country since returning to the Spanish giants in 2008 following a failed spell at Manchester United.
Pique has won no less than 29 major trophies to date – an impressive haul which includes six La Liga titles, three Champions League crowns, the 2012 European Championship and 2010 World Cup.
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But despite the glittering success the 29-year-old has enjoyed up until now, he has come a long way to establish himself as one of the finest players of his generation.
Pique honed his craft in the Barcelona youth team while Louis van Gaal was managing the first-team, and the former has revealed a violent exchange occurred between the two in the early stages of his career.
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The Spain international says the ex-Holland boss pushed him to the floor and said he would never make the cut as a Barcelona player due to his lack of physical strength.
Pique, as per the Daily Mail, told TV3: “You never knew if he would be the first-team coach when you got there. He pushed me, he threw me to the floor. He told me I wasn’t strong enough to be a Barcelona player.
“He destroyed me. At Barcelona we didn’t do gym work until the age of 18. That was really hard.”
Of course, Pique went on to become one of the best players in his position despite the harsh criticism he received from Van Gaal as a youngster.
The centre-back – who announced this week he will hang up his boots for Spain following the 2018 World Cup in Russia – has revealed his plans to pursue non-coaching ventures after he calls time on his playing career.
“I want to be president of Barca,” he added.
“It's a step I'd like to take when I retire.
“I don't see myself as a manager. I don't think I would enjoy it as much.
“As a president I could do really well for this club, because it's what I am passionate about. My playing career will [one day] come to an and and the step I'd like to take is to become Barcelona president.”
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