Pique: I'm no longer in world's top three defenders

The Spain international has admitted that after a trying campaign for club and country that he has fallen well below his usually high standards
Barcelona ace Gerard Pique has conceded that he can no longer consider himself among the top three defenders in the world.

The Spain international endured a trying 2013-14 season for club and country, with the Blaugrana failing to lift a major trophy and La Roja suffering a humiliating first-round exit at this summer's World Cup.

Pique's form was the subject of much debate throughout and he has now admitted that he has fallen below his usually high standard.

"Right now I'm not even in the top three [defenders] in the world," the center back said in a press conference on Thursday.

"I can't be for the season I had with Barca and the World Cup with the national team. I know that to play at Barca I have to be among the top three in the world. I also know that I can regain form and I will.

"But if I can't live up to the highest standards, I'm the first to raise my hand and say I can't.

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"I'm convinced that Luis Enrique will help me and I'll get my level up again."

Indeed, Pique is confident that Luis Enrique is the man to restore Barcelona to its former glory after a dismal season under Gerardo Martino.

"It [last season] was a failure," he confessed. "Barca only won the Spanish Super Cup. We failed in the Copa [del Rey] and the league ended up worse.

"But it's clear that if we can improve we will be close to the trophies, if done with humility and hard work. Barca now has the ingredients to do something great."

Barca was eliminated from the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage by Atletico Madrid before being pipped to the Primera Division title on the final day of the season by Diego Simeone's side.