Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has fond memories of his time in Manchester at Manchester City’s rivals Manchester United and has admitted he would still choose the red half of Manchester over the blue half despite the reports that City manager Manuel Pellegrini stated that City were now the biggest club in Manchester.
Pique left in 2008 for Barcelona after three years at United and has become a regular fixture in the heart of the Catalans defence during a trophy laden period under former Barca manager Pep Guardiola.
The Premier League landscape has changed a lot in Manchester since Pique departed for Barcelona, not least of which is the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson last summer and the rise of Manchester City.
United languish in seventh place, facing a struggle to even qualify for Europe next season, and knocked out of both domestic competitions.
City, on the other hand, are pushing for silverware on all four fronts (Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League) – an unprecedented quadruple.
Asked which club in Manchester he would re-sign for, Pique was in no doubt.
“What do you think?” laughed Pique, who also admitted he was more of a fan of Manchester rockers Happy Mondays than City supporting rivals Oasis at the end of his time in England.
“If I had to choose one it would be United but I am very happy at Barcelona – it’s the club of my life and I’m not thinking to leave.”
“It’s very special to come back to Manchester. I was 17 when I arrived, still a child.
“Obviously I would have liked to play more but it was a very special three years and I learned a lot.
“Manchester United are my second team after Barcelona, everyone treated me very well, starting with Sir Alex Ferguson.”
Barcelona have weathered a storm of controversy earlier in the season, with patchy form and allegations of impropriety over the transfer fees for striker Neymar from Santos but Pique insisted that the difficult times were at an end and Barca were approaching their best again.
“The only way we can speak is on the pitch.
“In the last six months at the club there’s been some things we could not control as players.
“All we can do is show the world tomorrow on the pitch that we can still be the best and try to play a great game against a great team like Manchester City with great players.
“I think that maybe clubs don’t fear us as before because we haven’t won the Champions League for a couple of years but there is still a lot of respect.
“We are a team with a lot of players who have won the World Cup, Champions League and Spanish League.
“I think we can still be the best but we have to show the world we can do it. Tomorrow is a great chance to show that we are top players and we can win here.”