Made to Stay With a Family as a 17YO, Gerard Pique Admits Manchester United Move Was a ‘Cultural Shock’

Published 01/12/2024, 4:52 AM EST

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Similar to Lionel Messi, Spanish veteran Gerard Pique also grew up as a player in Barcelona’s ‘La Masia’ academy. Unlike Messi, who got the Blaugrana colors after the academy, Pique left for England to join Manchester United. Upon looking back, the 36-year-old had an average term at Old Trafford. His first few days on English soil were far from impressive. Rather, the then 17-year-old found it difficult to move alone to Manchester without his friends and family.

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Cultural changes in Manchester aside, a young Gerard Pique also had to unlearn the soccer lessons he picked up from the academy. Recently, the 2010 World Champion recalled his first few days in the UK.

A ‘tiki-taka’ influenced Pique found the EPL a ‘big shock’ to handle!

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During Gerard Pique’s recent appearance in an episode of Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE podcast, host Harry Pinero asked the former, ‘how much of a cultural shock it was to move to Manchester’. “Well, the most difficult thing was to move, to move alone because I didn’t bring my family or my friends to Manchester. I was 17 at that time, I was a kid. I remember my first year, I was living in a family, that the club has, in order to host players that were under 18. And, for me, that was a big shock culturally. Because the food is different, the weather is different, people are different,” said Gerard Pique. However, off-the-field issues were far lesser than on-the-field ones.

The different ‘style of gameplay’ had also affected the center-back. In Barcelona’s academy, Gerard Pique followed the style that regarded passing and controlling the game as sacrosanct. Whereas Premier League clubs played a different kind of ‘direct’ fast-paced game, where it is not paramount to keep possession. However, he remarked the PL is now changing, thanks to Pep Guardiola‘s efforts in Manchester City. Anyhow, the teenager who sadly moved to Manchester alone was very ‘sad‘ to bid adieu to the Red Devils after four years.

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Gerard Pique recalls the ‘no-brainer’ decision before leaving Manchester

“I remember that obviously leaving Manchester United… I was sad because I had a very good time there. When Barcelona came, I mean for me it was a no-brainer. But at that time I was happy in Manchester United. If Barcelona would not come, I would not leave Manchester United,” Pique reflected. In his last season at Old Trafford, Pique won the League title and the UEFA Champions League.

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Anyhow, Barca’s call was not something he could reject, as that was the club he grew up rooting for. And what happened to Pique in Barca’s senior team is history. He won six titles in his very first year with Barca! Innumerable other accolades and memories followed in the years to come. What are your thoughts on Pique’s candid admission? Tell us in the comments below.

WATCH THIS STORY: “And F**k a Lot” – Shakira’s Ex Gerard Pique Gives His Advise to ‘Young People’

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Written by:

Krishna Prasad M

750Articles

One take at a time

My journey as a sports aficionado was not colored by soccer initially. The 2006 FIFA World Cup, however, changed me, as I fell in love with the beautiful game. From cheering on Real Madrid to channeling an inner analyst with my pals during every other World Cup and kicking the ball timelessly, soccer is now a therapy for me with boundless conversations.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz

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