‘I started dating Shakira… my relationship with Guardiola changed’: Gerard Pique reveals he ‘suffered’ after ‘tense’ Pep turned on him at Barcelona, who were ‘exhausted’ by rivalry with Jose Mourinho
- Gerard Pique has opened up on the pressure of playing under Pep Guardiola
- Pique says his relationship with the coach broke down upon first dating Shakira
- The defender and the Colombian pop star started going out in at the start of 2011
- Pique revealed he nearly quit Barcelona because of Guardiola’s interventions
- The Barcelona man says Guardiola’s rivalry with Jose Mourinho was ‘exhausting’
Gerard Pique revealed his relationship with Pep Guardiola suffered at Barcelona when he started dating Shakira – and the Spanish coach’s desire to ‘control everything’ nearly forced him out of the Camp Nou.
Pique and Guardiola enjoyed a successful time at the LaLiga giants between 2008 and 2012, winning three LaLiga titles, two Champions League trophies together at a time when Barcelona and Real Madrid were at the top of their games.
But the Barcelona defender has now opened up on how strenuous working under Guardiola can be, claiming that the coach’s rivalry with then-Real boss Jose Mourinho was tiring for the players – to the point he took issue with Pique dating pop star Shakira at the start of 2011.
Gerard Pique (left) says his relationship with Pep Guardiola (right) broke down at Barcelona when he started dating Shakira
Pique (middle left) started going out with the Colombian pop star (middle, right) in 2011
‘We reached an important point of tension with him, and with the dressing room in general. The rivalry with José Mourinho was very exhausting.
‘Pep wanted absolute control of everything that happened. I started dating Shakira and the relationship with him changed – 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 (the summer of 2011).’
Pique and Shakira started dating at the start of 2011, right in the midst of an important campaign which saw Guardiola’s Barcelona go on to win the LaLiga title and the Champions League trophy at Wembley.
The couple are still together after ten years and have two sons together
The couple, who share the same birthday though Shakira is ten years older than Pique, first met in the spring of 2010 when the Colombian pop star was filming her music video for that year’s World Cup hit, ‘Waka Waka’.
Pique was part of the music video but were not seen out as a couple until the following year, after Shakira’s 11-year relationship with her former agent Antonio de la Rua had broken down.
The couple are still together and have two sons, Millan and Sasha. In 2020, Forbes named Pique and Shakira in their list of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Couples’.
Guardiola would stay on as Barcelona manager for another year after Pique and Shakira got together, before leaving the Catalans in 2012 to take a sabbatical. He appeared as Bayern Munich’s new manager in the summer of 2013.
Pique (left) rued Guardiola’s desire to have ‘absolute control of everything’ at the Camp Nou
The former Barcelona head coach, now at Manchester City, enjoyed a fierce rivalry with Mourinho over his career, with tension points rising to maximum when the Portuguese coach became Real boss in 2010.
Guardiola and Mourinho had previously worked together at Barcelona, with the former a key player at the club while the latter was a translator for head coach Sir Bobby Robson in the late 1990s.
But the pair clashed in 2011 when Real Madrid played Barcelona four times in 18 days, one of which saw Real win the Copa del Rey final 1-0.
Pique revealed Guardiola’s (right) rivalry with Jose Mourinho (left) was exhausting at Barca
The defender, who is still at Barcelona, revealed he nearly quit the club because of Guardiola
Ahead of a press conference for a Champions League clash between the two teams, which Barcelona went on to win, Guardiola told the media: ‘In this room, Mourinho is the f***ing chief, the f***ing boss. I don’t want to compete with him in here… but this is a game of football.’
The following summer, Mourinho would go on to poke Guardiola’s late former assistant at Barcelona, Tito Villanova, in the eye when a scuffle between the Catalan and Real players broke out in that summer’s Spanish Super Cup final.
Guardiola and Mourinho also clashed when the latter was in charge of Inter Milan, while both managers have faced off in the Premier League too.