Gerard Pique ‘cried’ when Lionel Messi left Barcelona

Lionel Messi left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain last summer

Gerard Pique has revealed that he cried when Lionel Messi left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain last summer, but understands why the forward had to move on from the club.

Messi ended a long association with Barcelona in August of last year, having been unable to sign a new deal due to financial issues at the club.

After more than 20 years in Catalonia, the 34-year-old joined PSG on a free transfer and has since secured a record seventh Ballon d’Or.

Pique had forged a close friendship with Messi since joining Barcelona in 2008, and admits he shed tears over the Argentina captain’s departure, though recognised that circumstances dictated that Messi must leave.

“I cried when Messi left Barcelona,” Pique said on The Overlap.

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“I cried for him. For the career he had at Barca, it would have been great if he had stayed until the end of his career at the club.

“I can understand why Messi couldn’t renew. The club was suffering a lot economically because of the past president and how he managed the club.

Messi, 34, has not been at his best since joining PSG

“At the end of the day, these are things that happen in life. Sometimes you make a decision and things don’t work out.”

Messi has been hampered by injury since arriving in Paris, failing to find his best scoring touch and yet to reach double figures for the club.

While PSG have restored their domestic dominance with the Ligue 1 title, an early Champions League exit to Real Madrid drew the ire of supporters, who have booed Messi and his teammates during home fixtures at the Parc des Princes.

Pique’s opinion of his former teammate is unchanged, believing Barcelona’s all-time record appearance-maker and scorer to be without peers.

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The centre back explained: “For Barcelona and the fans, Messi was like a God. It would have been great if he stayed.

“Lionel Messi is the best player in the history of the game. Messi was Barcelona’s best player. I’ve always said that we had Messi to win titles, but we also had to have a good team. A single player cannot win titles.”

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