Gerard Pique says playing for Barcelona is a dream come true after extending his contract with the LaLiga giants.
The defender signed a new deal this month that will see him tied to Barca until 2022, when he will be 35, and he has every intention of retiring at the club.
In this Q and A, the 2010 Fifa World Cup winner opens up on life in the Spanish topflight amongst other issues.
Q: Was playing for FC Barcelona always a dream of yours?
A: When I was a boy, the truth is that I always came to the stadium to see the team play, and you always had that dream but you never really considered it because you know it was very, very difficult.
As the years have gone by, that dream has become a reality, and not just that, but I’ve also had the chance to spend many years in this locker room and I hope to be here for another four and half year until 2022 and I hope we win lots of different titles from the Champions League to the Club World Cup, LaLiga, and I hope we do so plenty of times. So I’m living the dream and I hope that it ends as far down the road as possible.
Q: How is FC Barcelona viewed globally?
A: I think that every day, more and more people are conscious of what Barca is, that Barca is a global brand and you can go anywhere in the world and see a child wearing a Barca shirt and that means a lot, not just that people like Barca but that they also like the colours and even buy the shirt.
They like the values we represent, the message we as a club and as players transmit, we are a fundamental part of this club, everything we do makes us role models for children who are growing up and see Barca, not just Barca, but also the players as an example to follow.
Q: Would you attribute your very successful football career to one person or to a number of people?
A: Yes, there have been various people who have been very important at every stage of my life. I mean, I could talk about everyone from the coach I had when I was 10 years old, when I arrived here, who gave me the opportunity, who had enough confidence in me to make me a starter, to continue developing my skills all the way up to today.
When I can talk about my teammates who help make me a better player, or even the coach who gave me the self-confidence to continue being who I am, these are fundamental people who have had an influence throughout my life and my professional career and I’m very thankful to them and they know it.
Q: Tell us what it means to play for a big club like FC Barcelona.
A: Completely, in the end, being at a club like FC Barcelona who must win titles, you have to stay motivated, and often times, using your head is more important than using your body. And although I have gone through moments in which I was more motivated than others, I can say that I’m very happy with everything I’ve experienced, I’ve been fortunate with injuries, I’ve been lucky on a physical level and I hope it stays that way for many more years.
Q: What is your best or most memorable trophy winning season?
A: Perhaps the second treble, when we were coached by Tata (Gerardo Martino). It was our most difficult season as a club since I’ve been here, with Tata, we only won the Spanish Super Cup. On a personal level, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the following years, whether I was motivated enough to keep playing, and that year was like an explosion. The fact that we won everything that year brought everybody back to where we were before, both on a physical and motivational level. Everything was perfect that year and it put us on a path where regardless of whether we have better or worse seasons, we will always compete until the end and the titles will come, and that is the most important thing.
Q: How do you feel about yourself?
A: When I wake up in the morning, I consider myself the luckiest person in the World, and I can tell you that happiness is intangible, it’s very difficult to explain but I can tell you that I consider myself to be a very happy person and obviously we all go through our ups and downs but in general, I can tell you that, with the life I have, I am truly privileged.
Q: Asides football, what else do you enjoy doing?
A: I enjoy being a professional footballer, but I also enjoy doing other things, like being a father to my family, which I think is the best thing that has happened to me, as well as doing other things, like in the business world, where I'm not just a guy who plays football because I know that one day, it’ll all be over and that you have to be prepared. I always try to say what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, and without fear of what others will say or think, and that’s how I’ve always lived. Sometimes, this has ended up hurting me and other times, it has helped me but I think you can never forget who you are, and I’ve always been myself and that one of the things I’m most proud of.