Gerard Pique has opened up over his strained relationship with former manager Pep Guardiola.
The Barcelona defender enjoyed a trophy-laden spell under Guardiola, winning the treble in his first season at the club. Pique became an instant hit at the Nou Camp, forming a formidable defensive partnership with Carlos Puyol.
However, despite winning seven major titles under Guardiola, Pique admits the two had a strained relationship. This follows four years under ‘Pep’ after joining from Manchester United in 2008.
After winning every trophy in Spain, the 31 year-old confessed to losing his desire for the game. Something the now Manchester City boss couldn’t tolerate due to his high demands.
“He wanted his players to be obsessed with football 24 hours a day and at that point in my life I didn’t understand it. I wasn’t as committed to that philosophy.
“Pep simply didn’t trust me anymore, and the crucial moment was when he decided not to play me against Real Madrid in the league.”
“That was crushing to me. I started to think, is this it? Is the dream of playing for Barca over? Is this how fast it can go away?” Pique told the Players Tribune.
The defender admitted to fears over his place at the club, pointing to Barcelona’s Champions League exit at the hands of Chelsea as a pivotal moment.
Following a collision with goalkeeper Victor Valdes, the Spaniard lasted only 26 minutes, as Barcelona’s 2-2 draw was not enough. Guardiola’s future looked unclear and Pique thought his might be too with an era coming to an end.
“The match ended 2-2, and we were knocked out. Within a few days, Pep announced his departure from Barca. It felt like an era was coming to an end, and I thought that perhaps my time was up, too.
“That season really made me think about my career, and my life. It was a wake-up call. When our team was playing for it all, Pep didn’t believe in me anymore. Then, when he finally turned to me, I got knocked out cold.” Pique added.
Guardiola departed at the end of the season after four years at the helm, with Tito Vilanova taking over in the summer of 2012.
Despite his own doubts, Pique continued as a mainstay in the Barcelona defence. Racking up over 250 club appearances for Barcelona and 93 caps for the national side.
Following treble successes in 2009 and 2015, Pique is on course for his third treble this year. The towering defender will want to follow up on Spain’s 2010 World Cup success in Russia later this year too.