LaLiga president Javier Tebas has said he has no doubts Gerhard Pique will one day become a “great president of Barcelona”.
Pique, 35, announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday, with Saturday’s La Liga clash against Almeria being his last game at the Camp Nou.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, more (US)
The veteran Barcelona defender, whose grandfather was a board member at the club, has spoken in the past about his ambitions to become club president, saying in a video on Thursday that ‘sooner or later I’ll be back’.
“I have no doubt”, Tebas told Spanish radio station COPE the possibility that Pique will one day preside over Barca.
“He has three qualities to become Barcelona President. He has been at the club for 25 years. He knows the world of football as a player and he knows the football and sports industry as a businessman.”
“He knows that they are very different facets. He has experience as a businessman in decision-making, with his successes and failures, and he can be a great president of Barcelona. I think he can. I think he has the ability to do it.” “
Pique is Founder and President of Kosmos, a company that manages sports, media and entertainment businesses. Her projects include the Tennis David Cup and owning Andorra FC.
FC Andorra have risen from the fifth division of Spanish football to the country’s second division in just four years.
Kosmos also acted as an intermediary in the Royal Spanish Football Federation’s deal for Saudi Arabia to host the Spanish Super Cup.
“He is very young and has many years to become Barcelona president,” said Tebas. “He knows that to take on the role of president of one of the biggest clubs, if not one of the two best clubs in the world, you have to have experience.”
Pique, who has won 102 caps for Spain, retired from international football in 2018 at the age of 31 after winning the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship.
“One of the best defenders in Spain and in the world is retiring,” said Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales. “Pique’s decision surprised me.”
Barca president Joan Laporta said Pique’s decision wasn’t sudden but ‘very deliberate’.
Pique is still under contract at Barca until June 2024 but had lost his place as a regular.
“It’s always hard to make that decision [to retire],” said Laporta. “We specify that [terms] the termination of the contract.
“What I want to say is that there is a great willingness on the part of the player to help the club. Gerard fully understands the club’s financial fair play situation. The sports wage bill requires an adjustment, he knows it and is very willing to help the club.”
Pique joined the club’s academy in 1997 before joining Manchester United in 2004.
He returned to Barca in 2008 after four years at Manchester, including a season-long loan to Spain at Real Zaragoza.
Pique is fifth on Barca’s all-time appearances list and has won 30 titles.
“He will always be a reference for them culers [Barca fans]’ Laporta said. “He clearly showed how much he loves Barca. He has been with the club for 25 years. He has achieved everything with this club. It was an honor to have him as a Barca player.”