With over 500 Barcelona appearances across eleven seasons to his name we would have forgiven Gerard Piqué if he had turned up to the club's Joan Gamper training ground for the 2019/20 third kit photoshoot in autopilot mode. He's done it before, he knows the deal. But this is a man who lives and breathes this beautiful city, and representing it is as honourable now as it was on day one. A perfectionist on the pitch, for a club with a perfectionist mentality, if it's about Barcelona Piqué is 100% 

Raised in Barcelona in the 90s, no player at the club resonates as strongly with the new Nike 2019/20 third shirt than their decorated number three. From a young starry-eyed fan to a European Champion, Piqué's trajectory with the football club has been in sync with the growth of the city he's always called home, and as Nike throw down 90s fire on the shirt he and his teammates will wear in this season's Champions League campaign Piqué sits down with SoccerBible to reflect on a monumental decade for the club which helped shape his career before he'd even stepped foot on the Camp Nou pitch.


Gerard, 500 appearances for any club is a remarkable achievement but doing that for FCB is remarkable. How would you describe that journey?

It’s been amazing. My dream was always to play for Barcelona but I never thought I could play 500 games for the club. The journey has been a dream and I hope I can go on to achieve more. I enjoy every day and I plan to keep doing it for much longer.

From your first appearance to your most recent, how unique is each one?

It’s very special because I was a fan of this club since the beginning, for as long as I can remember, since I was very young. I used to come every week to watch Barcelona play at the Camp Nou so for me, to put this jersey on and represent this club all over the world, it’s an honour and I’m really proud of that and I hope we can win many more titles.

What do you remember about that first time you put on the jersey and stepped out onto the pitch for your debut?

I remember sitting on the bench, we were at the Camp Nou in the Champions League. We were wearing a yellow kit even though we were at home. I remember wearing this second jersey at the time. We won 4-0 in the end. I played 20 minutes and it was a great experience. One that will never leave me.

What was Barcelona like as a city to grow up in, in the 90s?

In the 90s, I remember the Olympic games in ‘92 had a big impact on the city. It changed the whole city. It was a big experience for everyone. I was only five years old at the time but I remember I went to the stadium to watch the 1500 metres final. It was a great moment for the whole city. After that, it’s been a constant growth for the city. A lot of companies have come into the city from technology through to sports. FC Barcelona is a big brand for the city and for Catalonia. We have everything you want here - we have good food, good weather, the beaches, the mountains. To live in Barcelona, it’s a dream. Obviously it’s my home, it’s where I was born but to have the opportunity to keep living this dream, at home, it’s absolutely fantastic.

You mentioned the Olympics, can you remember how the city felt after that and the mood through the 90s because of it?

It was like people around the world discovered Barcelona then. Barcelona was a very good city at the time with a lot of potential but to have the Olympics, it was very, very important because obviously throughout that month, everyone around the world is looking at your city. Everyone was watching what was going on in the city. People travelled from all around the world to be here and for many it was their first time to Barcelona and they fell in love. Right now, because of that time in the 90s and what it began, tourism is one of the most important economic factors of the city and we have to preserve that. Obviously millions of people come and visit this city every year and it’s very important for us.

Do you remember getting your first Barcelona shirt as a kid?

The first Barcelona shirt I got was a Meba one, that was in the early 90s. It was a special one for me because like I said, I was a crazy fan for this club. The first shirt, to get that is an unbelievable feeling. After that we went to a Kappa shirt and from Kappa we jumped to Nike who have been a great partner. They’ve been with us for maybe over 20 years now so it’s been a long time and a great partnership. I remember when I started at La Masia, I was ten years old. I’ve been here twenty two years and when I started Nike was already been a partner so we’ve been together all that time. It’s been a great journey for both of them, FC Barcelona and Nike.

What about the club in the 90s, they really turned a corner and became an even greater giant, didn't they?

FC Barcelona is very important for the city. I remember in the early 90s we won the league four times in a row for the first time and it was with Johan Cruyff too. Also, in ‘92, the same year of the Olympics, we won our first Champions League. At the time it was called the European Cup. That impact of the club around the world had a good effect on the city. It helped the city and the club to grow.

Who were the players that you looked up to?

There have been a lot of great players but I remember in that time, I remember the likes of Koeman, Stoichkov, I remember Laudrup. They were foreign players who made their mark but then there was also players who came through La Masia like Guardiola, Ferrer and Sergi who represent the club, represent the city and represent Catalonia all over the world. They made their dream come true in playing for their club by coming through the academy. This was a huge step and example for people who were young at the time like me, to be able to follow them. They were a great example for us.

We are all perfectionists. If we win, it’s about how we win. I think this is why Barcelona is so different to every other club"

How much does this club mean to you?

It’s nearly everything. I always say that when I go into training, or come here to play, it’s like my second home. I feel part of this club having arrived at ten years old. I left when I was 17 but came back when I was 21. Right now, it’s like 18 years representing this club. I’m now 32 so it’s more than half of my life wearing the jersey of this club. I cannot imagine playing for another club or representing another club in such a global way we do with Barcelona.

How would you describe the character of the club, and how does that reflect your personality?

I think we are very special, very particular. We always want things well done. We want to do things in the right way. We are very methodic, we don’t want to just win but we want to win playing in a good win. If we don’t do that, we are not happy. This is why I think we are so special. We are all perfectionists. If we win, it’s about how we win. I think this is why Barcelona is so different to every other club. The sentence ‘Mesque Con Club’, ‘More than a club’ represents this club very well.

What is the first thing that comes into your head when we say FC Barcelona in the 90s?

The first European Cup, then in the last year of the 90s, in 99, it was our 100 year anniversary and I remember that shirt. It was very cool. It was half red and half blue with the logo of FC Barcelona in the middle. I remember that the 90s was a very important decade for the club as a whole. The impact of Johan Cruyff, then what we did with Van Gaal. For us, that period in the early 90s, we are here now because of what happened then, when Cruyff arrived as a coach.

The 2019/20 Nike third kit is pretty special and the design is unique, what do you think about it?

It’s a very cool shirt. I really like this shade of green. My eldest son really likes green too so he’ll be very happy with this shirt. Also, the logo of the city of Barcelona and also the Nike logo, that’s gone back to one from the 90s so all together, it’s a really cool shirt. I hope it brings us luck which is the most important thing because with this shirt we’ll go and play away games in the Champions League and we want to win that competition. Also, we’ll represent the club outside of Spain which is of course very important for us. That’s where a lot of people will meet us for the first time and see our games for the first time, so to represent Barcelona with a shirt like this, it’s perfect.

Pick up the Barcelona 2019/20 Third Shirt at prodirectsoccer.com from Sep 13.