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Pique’s relationship with Guardiola ‘changed’ after he dated Shakira & Mourinho rivalry ‘wore him out’

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The Barcelona star, one of the few remaining players of the now-Manchester City boss’ success-laden reign at Camp Nou, has reflected on their bond

Gerard Pique has revealed his relationship with Pep Guardiola “suffered” during their final season together at Barcelona, amid the player’s relationship with Shakira and his manager’s rivalry with Jose Mourinho.

The defender, one of the few players still with the club from the now-Manchester City manager’s success-laden time at Camp Nou, says that he now enjoys a fruitful friendship with his old boss a decade on from their final season together.

But reflecting on their time together, the veteran centre-back has admitted that he came close to quitting the Blaugrana across a 2011-12 campaign that saw their bond tested by his love life and Mourinho, then in charge of Real Madrid.

What has been said?

“We reached an important point of tension with him, and with the dressing room in general,” Pique told La Sotana.

“The rivalry with Jose Mourinho was very exhausting. Pep wanted absolute control of everything that happened.

“I started dating Shakira and the relationship with him changed; now the relationship is perfect. I had a lot of pressure. I felt that in training I had to do everything perfect.

“If there was a moment in which I thought about leaving Barca, it was that season 2011-12. I suffered a lot in this last year with him.”

Pique & Guardiola’s time together

Having rejoined the club where he played his youth football from Manchester United in 2008, Pique became a cornerstone of Guardiola’s tenure at Barcelona during their first season together.

The immediate success of a treble-winning campaign topped with Champions League glory set high expectations though, only exacerbated when former Chelsea boss Mourinho took charge of Real Madrid.

The strain of Guardiola and Mourinho’s rivalry – culminating in Los Blancos’ 2012 Liga win – forced the former into a year-long sabbatical, while Pique subsequently continued as a Barca mainstay with further triumphs.

The bigger picture

The 34-year-old – who has suggested he will remain with Barca until he retires – will look to help the club drive further up the table when the season resumes following the September international break.

Ronald Koeman’s side lie fourth in La Liga, as they look to back up last year’s Copa del Rey triumph with further success in a post-Lionel Messi era.

Guardiola, meanwhile, will continue to attempt to mount a defence of his side’s Premier League title, after recovering from an opening weekend loss to Tottenham.

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