Gerard Pique feels he grew up during a tough spell at Manchester United as Barcelona prepare to face the Red Devils on Tuesday. The 32-year-old began his youth career at Barca before switching to Old Trafford as a teenager in 2004.
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The centre back enjoyed his United debut later that year but made only 13 appearances in all competitions during four seasons before falling down the pecking order under Sir Alex Ferguson and re-joining the Catalans.
Pique is now closing in on 500 appearances for Barca and, as he prepares to return to the Theatre of Dreams for the first time since 2008, the man capped 102 times by Spain believes the way in which he dealt with adversity at United helped him mature as a person and player.
“I arrived at Manchester United a boy, and I left a man,” he said in a Player’s Tribune article. “I walked into (Ferguson’s) office, and I was honest with him. I said, ‘Listen, I feel like I’ve lost your trust. Barcelona is my home. I want to go back. I hope you will let me go’.”