Soccer

Gerard Pique says Guardiola relationship changed after he started dating Shakira

Gerard Pique has said his relationship with Pep Guardiola during their time together at Barcelona changed when he started dating Shakira.

Guardiola took over the managerial role of the Catalan club he'd previously played for in 2008 and made Pique one of his first signings.

The centre-back was a graduate of the La Masia academy but had left the club to join Manchester United four years prior.

He cost just £4.5m and was used regularly by the current Manchester City boss, though the two had a strained relationship which only worsened when the Colombian singer came onto the scene, according to Pique.

The 34-year-old began dating Shakira in 2011, which he recalls as being a particularly difficult time in his career.

In an interview with comedy programme La Sotana, via Marca, he said: "We reached an important point of tension with him, and with the dressing room in general.

"The rivalry with Jose Mourinho was very exhausting. Pep wanted absolute control of everything that happened.

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"I started dating Shakira and the relationship with him changes; now the relationship is perfect. I had a lot of pressure. I felt that in training I had to do everything perfect.

"If there was a moment in which I thought about leaving Barça, it was that season. "

Indeed, Pique went on to say that the season in question, the 2011/12 campaign, was the worst of his career, stating: "I suffered the last of Guardiola."

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Guardiola left at the conclusion of it, having won three La Liga titles and two Champions League over the four-year spell, but he'd missed out on another league success to Mourinho and Real Madrid in his final season.

Pique, meanwhile, did not leave the club following the departure of his manager and has gone on to make 568 appearances for the Spanish giants.

He is still with Shakira too, with the pair having two children since their relationship began a decade ago.

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