Gerard Pique said on Monday he may have quit football altogether rather than play for anyone other than his beloved Barcelona, with whom he signed a new five-year deal two weeks ago.
The 30-year-old central defender, who won the World Cup and European Championships with Spain, signed a contract extension at Barcelona until 2022, with a whopping 500 million euro ($611 million) release clause.
“With Barca we’ve always understood each other and it was really, really easy,” said Pique, who held a press conference on Monday to celebrate the recent contract extension.
“If I hadn’t extended this deal I’d have finished my contract and then let it go,” the Barcelona born player added.
“I just don’t have the motivation to pull on another (team’s) jersey.
“I’m still playing football because I play for Barca. If I was playing for another club the likelihood is that I would quit.”
Pique rejoined his boyhood club from Manchester United in 2008, after four years with the Premier League giants, where his first team opportunities were blocked by the centre-back pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
“I’m very happy. We are here today to celebrate my extension and I hope it will not be the last,” said Pique.
“I hope to finish here, I have no desire to leave for any other team — It’s Barcelona or no-one!”
Pique reiterated his desire to one day take over the Barca presidency.
“If one day I were to be Barcelona president, I wouldn’t be a regular president, I’d be a fairly unusual one,” he said.
Pique, who has 94 Spain caps, insisted he would be calling time on his international career following the World Cup.
“It’s an amazing stage, I’ve experienced incredible things and I have repeatedly said it is an honour to wear the national team shirt,” added Pique, who has had a fractious relationship with Spanish fans over his support for Catalan independence.
“But the most normal thing is that I quit after the World Cup.”