Where Barca’s iconic 2009 treble-winners are now as Pique announces retirement
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Gerard Pique has announced he will be lacing up his boots for one final time at the weekend against Almeria at the Camp Nou.
The 35-year-old will retire as one of the legends of the game – and his achievements at Barcelona will go down in legend in Catalonia. Pique was central to one of the best club sides the beautiful game has ever witnessed.
In 2009, Barcelona joined the elite club of treble winners, producing some of the most electrifying football that hadn't been seen since the legendary Dutch sides of the 1970s. The final piece of that treble puzzle came in the Champions League final.
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Barcelona had brushed aside just about every team they had come across over the course of the campaign.
And when they descended on Rome in May, they came across a Manchester United side in their pomp. United were the reigning champions of Europe, having beaten Chelsea in Moscow 12 months beforehand.
United hadn't lost in Europe all season, but over the course of 90 minutes, Pep Guardiola's side humbled and humiliated arguably United's strongest ever side with one of the all-time great team performances.
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Victor Valdes was the man between the sticks for Barcelona that day. Incredibly, Valdes would rock up at Old Trafford almost a decade later, before a brief spell at Middlesbrough before ending his career. Valdes was last seen in charge of a Spanish fifth-tier side.
Guardiola opted for a back four of Sylvinho, Pique, Yaya Toure, and Carlos Puyol. Pique remained at Barcelona for the rest of his career before returning on Thursday – and so too did Puyol, who is now working as a pundit.
Toure and Sylvinho left Barca for Manchester City in the seasons following the final – and both have since dabbled into management: Toure as an assistant and Sylvinho in his native Brazil.
Barcelona's midfield in the Eternal City is perhaps the most iconic of all time: Xavi, Andreas Iniesta, and Sergio Busquets at the base of the trio. All these years later, Busquets remains at the Camp Nou and is still a regular.
At 38-years-old Iniesta is still going strong in Japan with Vissel Kobe, and he was even linked with a sensational move back to Barcelona over the summer.
And the reason for that move was down to Barcelona's current boss, and Iniesta's partner in crime, Xavi. The Spaniard returned to Barcelona to take charge of his former side as a spell in the Middle East.
Up front, Guardiola opted for the trio of Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto'o, and Lionel Messi. Henry's only European triumph came that night in Rome, and he now appears as a pundit for Sky Sports.
Eto'o left Barca that summer, and went on to win another treble the following year with Inter Milan – at Barcelona's expense in a famous Champions League victory under Jose Mourinho – before a bizarre spell with Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia. The Cameroonian retired in 2019, and he's the current President of the Cameroon Football Federation.
Messi's career has been well documented. The Argentine waved a tearful goodbye to Catalonia in 2021 – but after initially struggling at PSG, he is now back to something approaching his brilliant best – although his time in Paris looks to be coming to an end this season.
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- Champions League
- Lionel Messi
- Pep Guardiola
- Barcelona FC
- La Liga
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