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Gerard Pique: 'Manchester United had me in tears, but I thank them for it'
Published : 22 May 2011 00:20:28
ShareGerard Pique was fighting back tears and almost threw in the towel during an unsuccessful spell at Manchester United - but on Saturday he will be reunited withthe club he says helped him to win nine trophies and a World Cup. United remain an important part of his career, despite playing only a handful of matches for Sir Alex Ferguson, a man to whom he says he owes a debt of thanks. 'I went to England at 17 and it was tough,' said Barcelona defender Pique. 'I had always been used to being in the team every week and then suddenly I was at home on match days. It was very difficult and there were days when I thought, 'This is not worth it'. But I would not have been the same had I not gone to Manchester United. Once a Red: Gerard Pique (left) and former team-mate Nemanja Vidic 'I learned how to live through the bad times on my own. I would call my mother and tell her everything was fine when I was really holding back the tears.' Saturday will also re-unite Pique with his former manager Ferguson and he said: 'I will always owe him a massive debt for the way he treated me.' And his former team-mate Wayne Rooney, with whom Pique has already shared twoChampions League finals, will come in much closer proximity in Saturday's final at Wembley. In Moscow in 2008, Pique was in the stands as a United reserve as Rooney helped Ferguson's side beat Chelsea on penalties. Last time out: Pique (left) beats Wayne Rooney in the 2009 final And although the two came face to face a year later, it was Cristiano Ronaldo playing at centre-forward for United and not Rooney as Pique and Barcelona came out on top. Pique sat out the Moscow final having already agreed to go back to Spain at the end of the season. 'It's incredible how much more you suffer when watching from the stands than on the pitch,' he said of the final United appeared to have lost until John Terry's penalty slip. The Rome final a year later cast Pique as one of the lead actors. 'To find myself up against the players who, just a year earlier, I had shared a piece of history with [in aLeague and European Cup double] was very emotional,' he said. 'To play alongside players such as Rooney and Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs one of the greatest players in the history of football was unforgettable and invaluable.' Ronald Koeman: How Pep Guardiola created the greatest football team in the worldVeteran Van der Sar admits he is dreading Old Trafford farewellAll the latest Manchester United news, features and opinion Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Cristiano Ronaldo, John Terry, Ryan Giggs, Gerard Pique, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand Places: Barcelona, Rome, Moscow, Spain, United Kingdom