Pique: I want to retire at Barcelona

Manchester United have been linked with a €25 million move for their former charge as they look to bolster their defence but the 27-year-old insists he is happy in Catalonia

Gerard Pique has dismissed talk that he is unhappy at Barcelona, insisting he wants to retire at Camp Nou.

Recent reports had suggested that Manchester United are lining up a €25 million move for the centre-back, who spent four frustrating years at Old Trafford before returning to Catalunya in 2008 to play a key role in Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona side.

But despite being criticised in some quarters for his performances at Camp Nou this season and flattered by the transfer speculation, Pique is adamant that he has no desire to leave his boyhood club and go back to England.

“I was really happy and left a lot of friends [in Manchester], even if I didn’t play as much as I’d wanted, but I’ve always said I want to stay here all my career and retire at Barcelona,” he told reporters.

“At Manchester United I had Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic ahead of me, players who were never injured, never red carded … f**king hard [to dislodge] but this is the first time at Barcelona I’m not playing as much as I want to.

“A lot of people say: ‘Pique is not fit or not playing well’ but Pique is really playing well. After the World Cup I admitted I maybe hadn’t been at my level but, in pre-season, I worked really hard and I’m really happy about my performances during the season.

“At the moment I’m not thinking about leaving. I’m really happy if it’s true that United want me but I’m a Barcelona fan, I have been since I was a kid. I want to stay here.”

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