Rio Ferdinand was always certain Gerard Pique would reach the top of the game, but has a basic theory why he struggled to shine at Manchester United.
The serial trophy winner moved to Old Trafford as a teenager from Barcelona’s academy. However, after just 24 appearances for United over four years, he was sold back to Barcelona for 2008.
During his time at the Nou Camp, Pique has won numerous trophies, including three Champions League titles and LaLiga eight times.
Now 33, Pique is said to be coming to the end of his time at the club. He was, oddly, linked with a move to Fulham at the start of the summer. That even prompted an admission from Pique that he could be one of the first big names to move on.
Ferdinand, however, has been reflecting on his early impressions of the defender. He insists everyone at United was convinced Pique would reach the top. But he reckons the World Cup winner’s game was just not suited to the Premier League.
Speaking to his YouTube channel, Ferdinand admits his progress since then has taken him by surprise.
“It’s weird because the Gerard Pique when he was at Man United wasn’t the Gerard Pique we see at Barcelona now.
“We knew he had talent and we knew that this guy would do big things in the game.
“But did I think he’d go on and do what he’s done? No. If I’m being honest. Definitely not in England.”
Ferdinand on player who ‘killed’ Pique off
Ferdinand recalls a game against Bolton that probably finished off Pique’s chances of making it at United.
“What killed him a little bit was he played for United against Bolton when they had [Nicolas] Anelka up front and Anelka scored off him.
“His game maybe just wasn’t suited to the English way of playing.
“If he was playing for Man City now it’d be very different, he could play in that team no problem because of the way they play, they have the ball.
“I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson who said he spoke to Pep Guardiola. He said one of the key things and fundamental things in that team at Barcelona was getting Gerard Pique.
“Pique is somebody you could see who believed in his own ability. He just needed that opportunity and at Man United he wasn’t getting it. And you’ve got to have that mindset.”