Pique made 23 first-team appearances in a four-year stay at United, having moved to England as a raw teenager. However, he never looked like becoming a regular in Sir Alex Ferguson's starting line-up and most people imagined Pique would only be a back-up when he returned 'home' to Barcelona in 2008.
Remember me? Gerard Pique was unable to hold down a regular place at Manchester United
Instead, Pique quickly established himself as a key component in Pep Guardiola's defence, helping the Catalans to an unprecedented Treble in his debut campaign, including a Champions League final victory over his old club in Rome.
Twelve months after that, Pique was conquering even greater heights as a member of the Spain team that won the World Cup in South Africa.
Top Barca: Pique has gone on to unrivalled success, including beating United in the 2009 Champions League final
Whilst Ferdinand always felt the 24-year-old had ability, it has shocked him how much his former team-mate has flourished at the Nou Camp.
'Gerard has been phenomenal,' said the England star. 'From sitting on the bench at United to winning the Champions League, La Liga and the World Cup. If you had told him that was going to happen he wouldn't have believed you.
Home boy: Pique, like Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas, was schooled by Barcelona
'Everyone knew how good a player he was. He had so many qualities. Maybe he wasn't suited to the Premier League. But Spain suits him down to the ground.'
Ferdinand has the opportunity of revenge for that Rome nightmare when United head into the rematch at Wembley on May 28.
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