Ever since Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona, Gerard Pique has often been seen as the villain of the story. Several reports stated that the Spaniard inhibited the Argentine staying at the club.
In a recent interview, Pique set the record straight, showering the septuple Ballon d’Or winner with praise.
Pique started off by saying: “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.”
More often than not when people speak of Messi, they talk about him as though he ran a one-man show. Granted Messi-dependencia was a very real phenomenon, he never worked alone. Sacrifices were made by many such that he and the team could excel.
The World Cup winner then went on to add that he believes Messi to be the best to ever have touched a football. “Lionel Messi is the best player in the history of the game.”
Messi’s world record seven Ballon d’Ors speak volumes of his individual quality. The Argentine is two adrift of nearest challenger Cristiano Ronaldo with five.
Had the award been accredited to him purely for reasons pertaining to his individual quality, rather than perhaps collective silverware, he would have eight or more.
Pique then spoke about Messi’s exit, an event which sent shockwaves around the footballing community. Nobody expected the Argentine to leave Barça, and Messi’s own tears that fateful day encapsulated his dejection.
He said: “I cried when Messi left Barcelona. I cried for him. For the career he had at Barça, it would have been great if he had stayed until the end of his career at the club.”
Upon the impossibility of renewal, Pique was accused by fans, and according to various news sources, Messi himself, but the Spaniard offered up his explanation for the departure.