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'This is not farewell' - Pique says as Barcelona fans chant 'President, president'

The Barcelona legend featured in 616 games for the club, helping them to 34 trophies.

Gerard Pique

Saturday night was an emotional one at Camp Nou as Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique called it quits on his footballing career after announcing his sudden retirement in the midweek.

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The Barcelona legend made his 617th and final appearance for the club as Xavi's side defeated Almeria 2-0 thanks to goals from Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong.

The win was also the Blaugraunas' eighth consecutive home victory over the Almeria.

The glorious send-off which was expected to start smoothly rather started frustrating as the home side struggled to make the most of their overwhelming pressure.

Their best opportunity came within five minutes, when they were gifted a penalty, however, Robert Lewandowski who was in no mood for sentimentality stepped up instead and hit the post following a complacent kick.

The one-way traffic ensued for the rest of the half with Barcelona sharing the spoils at half-time, however, they understood Pique didn't have to end the night on a bad note.

Less than 180 seconds into the second half, Sergio Busquets’ pinpoint diagonal pass found Dembele, who cut inside, beat two men and arrowed a shot into the corner.

Fourteen minutes later, they added a second when De Jong volleyed home from close range.

The highlight of the game came after 83 minutes when Pique was replaced by Andreas Christensen, to a standing ovation from his adoring fans.

Speaking amidst tears at full-time, the defender claimed that his departure was not farewell. "In life, when you grow up, sometimes loving is letting go and...There is a relationship of so much love and passion between Barca and me.

"It is time to leave us space, some air. I am convinced that in the future I will be here again," the defender said to a round of ovations from Camp Nou and shouts of "Piqué president".

He continued: "This is not a farewell, I already left at 17 and came back. My grandfather made me a member the day I was born. I was born here and I will die here. Long live Barca, always"

With the win, Barcelona moves two points ahead of title rivals Real Madrid, who face Rayo Vallecano on Monday.

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