La Liga leaders Barcelona were given a fresh boost on Thursday when key defender Gerard Pique signed a contract extension until 2022. Having recently lost Brazilian superstar Neymar in an aggressive contract buy out by Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona have put a 500 million euros ($611 million) buy out clause in Pique's new contract. "The club and the player have agreed terms on a new deal through to June 30, 2022. We will announce when the official signing will take place in a couple of days," Barcelona said on their website.
The defender, considered one of the best in the world in his position, has won everything there is to be won at club level for the Blaugrana: 3 Champions Leagues, 6 LaLiga titles, 5 Copa del Reys, 5 Spanish Supercopas, 3 European Supercups and 3 Club World Cups. In total, a player who identifies with the club more than anyone has earned 25 trophies.
Pique joined FC Barcelona in 1997, aged just 10 years old. The centre back started out in the club's junior ranks, at the youngest level available at the time -Under-11s B- and steadily progressed through the different age groups. He left La Masia in 2004 to move to Manchester United, where he gained experience playing in the Premier League and also in LaLiga when he spent a season on loan at Zaragoza.
The 30-year-old joined Barcelona from Manchester United in 2008 and has proved an increasingly steady presence as centre-back with the Catalans. The 6ft 4in (1.94m) Pique was part of the Spain side that won the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championships. Barcelona currently top the Spanish League with a nine points lead over Atletico Madrid, but are an impressive 19 points clear of fourth placed arch-rivals Real Madrid.
(With AFP Inputs)