Saturday, November 5, Gerard Pique wore jersey number 3 for the last time Barca, the same one who has accompanied him since his arrival in the club of his childhood in 2008. He definitely turned his back on the stadiums three days later. Recalled to replace during the Osasuna-Barcelona meeting, he left on an expulsion, without even having walked on the lawn again. the player had announced his retirement a few days earlier in a video intended in particular for fans of the club, in which he displays a sentimental pedigree dating back to his childhood. At 35, with a growing business empire, and in a highly unusual way for a star of his stature, Pique said goodbye to football.
At the time his announcement hit the networks, the footballer was celebrating a farewell dinner with his teammates. In financial terms, his departure is surprising: Pique still had around 30 million gross to pocket with his current contract. A sum which he voluntarily gave up, and to which another hypothetical amount must be added, since his retirement from football is total. That is to say, he does not envisage the seasons of pre-retirement, in countries which have millions in oil and few in football, with which the stars of their category generally guarantee themselves a small cushion in end of career. But of course, no footballer to date has had Pique’s entrepreneurial streak.
The Pique empire between tennis, NFT and real estate
After hanging up his football shirt, Pique will be able to focus on his other big challenge in November, for example: the Davis Cup final. A tournament which is now entirely organized by Kosmos Tennis, one of the subsidiaries of its Kosmos holding company, and on which it is working with two billionaires as partners: Hiroshi Mikitani (owner of Rakuten, personal friend of Pique and sponsor of the tournament and, for years, of Barça) and larry ellison, who, in addition to his software business, revolutionized tennis tournaments with his management of Indian Wells. The Davis Cup already brings millions to Pique and his associates – between public and federation contributions, television rights and tickets, which already this year are around 175,000, much more than the Davis Cup before Pique -, and its business plan covers 25 years with dizzying figures: up to 3,000 million euros expected over this period. The Community of Madrid, for example, has valued the contributions that the Davis Cup leaves to the city at 200 million euros.
Pique, who is believed to have left Barca after several injuries and under media pressure in recent weeks – after the end of his 11-year relationship with Shakira and his new frequentation of Clara Chia – has demonstrated commercial interests in many other areas: he has been introduced to NFTs and other boards of companies valued at several billion euros; he has football business relationships with La Liga and Federacio. He has also managed investment funds, real estate companies and other projects that have nothing to do with his footballing record. Pique hasn’t needed Barca for a long time. He had, in fact, been planning his exit for some time. His announcement comes at the right time so that future sports legislation and regulatory changes – which today prevent his coach and former teammate Xavi to benefit from the relationship of one of his companies with LaLiga, for example – do not hinder the commercial future which he began to take seriously after studying for a major master’s degree in business at Harvard, there is five years.
The physique, the state of the club and the turbulence in his personal life may have precipitated his departure. Although his farewell video makes it clear that his relationship with the club is not over. In one of his last shots, Pique bids farewell, promising fans: “I’ll be back”. A futuristic image that comes with a revealing sequence. The footballer stands in the Camp Nou, empty, he who has never publicly acknowledged his ambition: that of being president of Barça.
Gerard Pique, the billionaire businessman who no longer needed to be a footballer