Gerard Pique: Barcelona legend with an intense life off-the-pitch

Gerard Pique’s decision to retire from professional football in November 2022 marked the end of an era for the Barcelona and Spain legend. The defender was part of a hugely successful period for Barca, helping them win eight La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey and three Champions League. He was also part of Spain’s ‘golden generation’ that famously won the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship two years later.

One of his passions off the football field is poker. The Spaniard has participated in numerous poker tournaments over the years, obtaining significant results and becoming somewhat of a poker bastion among Spanish football players. He obtained his best result on the professional poker circuit in 2019, finishing second at the EPT Barcelona after failing to beat Juan Pardo’s deuces at the final table despite picking up a flush draw.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – OCTOBER 26: Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and FC Bayern München at Spotify Camp Nou on October 26, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Personal life controversies

However, when it comes to his off-field activities, Pique is arguably best known for his long-standing relationship with Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira. The high-profile pair were together from 2011 to 2022 and have two children – Milan and Sasha. The couple eventually separated last June.

As is often the case when couples split up, things have turned ugly between Pique and Shakira over the past few months. Pique has been accused of being unfaithful with ‘multiple women’ during their relationship, and speculation intensified when he made his first public appearance with his new girlfriend.

Shakira has understandably not taken too kindly to the situation, making her feelings known by releasing an explosive new song earlier this month. Entitled ‘Out of your League’, the video of the collaboration with DJ Bizarrap has racked up more than 192 million views on YouTube.

In addition to savage references to Pique and his new girlfriend, Shakira also mentions her ongoing issues with the Spanish revenue authorities. The singer infers Pique is to blame for her tax problems, which may explain why the former Barca star has been keeping a low profile on social media. 

Business interests

Away for his relationship issues, Pique has plenty of other interests to keep him occupied now his playing days have ended.

The 35-year-old has turned his attention to his company Kosmos Management, which invests in ventures in sports, media, and entertainment. Pique is also currently the owner of Spanish football club FC Andorra and has a majority stake in Gimnastic Manresa.

He has invested in the fantasy football game Sorare and is the co-owner of an eSports team that competed in the League of Legends European Championship.

Pique’s most recent venture is the Kings League – a seven-a-side football competition that has already attracted massive interest around the world. The Kings League consists of 12 teams in which the owners are Spanish-speaking online streamers, former professional footballers, and internet celebrities.

All matches are live streamed on Twitch, with the squads featuring a mix of current and ex-players and Spanish influencers. The competition is designed to attract a younger audience to football by delivering fast-paced action and innovative features.

Some of the biggest names involved in the Kings League include former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero. Former Manchester United striker Javier Hernández has played in the league, although his commitments with LA Galaxy mean he is unlikely to feature again.

One of the biggest attractions of the Kings League has been the inclusion of a player that has had everyone guessing about his identity. ‘Enigma’ wears a Mexican wrestling mask and gloves during the games, while his arms are covered to ensure his tattoos can’t be recognised. Pique confirmed that Enigma is a top-level player who does not want his club to find out about his involvement as they had barred him from playing.

Following the success of the Kings League, Pique is now working on launching an equivalent competition for female players called the Queens League. Having enjoyed a hugely successful career as a professional footballer, the Spaniard is clearly on a mission to make his mark as a businessman. Despite his acrimonious split with Shakira, it appears Pique still has plenty to look forward to over the coming years. As the iconic Robert Palmers song goes, ‘some guys have all the luck’!

Gerard Pique: Barcelona legend with an intense life off-the-pitch

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