Updates from Monday, May 26
Barcelona provide a statement from Gerard Pique after agreeing to his new contract:
Gerard Pique will commit his future to Barcelona by inking a new five-year contract at the Camp Nou, reported by the club's website:
An official statement confirmed Pique is due to sign the deal soon: "The new contract will keep Pique at the Club until the end of the 2018/19 season and will be signed within the next few days."
Pique, who developed through Barca's youth ranks before heading to Manchester United in 2004, rejoined the Catalan club in 2008, after spending a season on loan at Real Zaragoza. His new deal adds a further four years onto the 12 months left on his current contract, keeping him with the Blaugrana until 2019 and the age of 32.
The centre-back, who has won it all with club and country, is the latest player to secure his future. Pique follows in the footsteps of Lionel Messi, who signed a new deal on Monday, as reported by FCB's website. Andres Iniesta also penned an extension in December as Barca look to tie down many of the individuals who have helped the club to great success.
Pique's extraordinary run of trophies started well before he returned to Barcelona. He won the Premier League, Community Shield and Champions League prior to rejoining his boyhood club, where the silverware has continued to arrive.
To date, Pique has captured four La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, four Spanish Super Cups, two Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups and a duo of FIFA Club World Cup championships with Barcelona. He also played alongside a heavy Barcelona influence during Spain's World Cup win in 2010 and Euro 2012 triumph.
The powerful defender's agreement comes shortly after former captain and Barca B coach Luis Enrique was confirmed as the club's manager, per BBC Sport. Enrique—who led Celta Vigo to a respectable ninth place during the 2013-14 season—takes over from Gerardo Martino after the Argentinian failed to land a single trophy during his sole season in charge.
Enrique now faces the daunting task of rebuilding a Barca side that can compare to the team Pep Guardiola produced. Louis van Gaal, who finds himself in a similar situation after recently being hired by Manchester United, believes Enrique is the right man for the job, per Elko Born of FourFourTwo:
Van Gaal: ‘Luis Enrique is a fantastic person. Very strong, mentally. He has done well at Celta, I hope for him he’s the right choice.’— Elko Born (@Elko_B) May 19, 2014
Players such as Pique will form the backbone of Enrique's team. Although the Spanish defender hasn't consistently maintained his best form over the past couple of years, he can thrive under Enrique's tutelage when fully focused. With Carles Puyol stepping aside, Pique will need to galvanise his sense of leadership and influence over younger players.
His commitment to the club, alongside Messi's, kicks the summer off in bright fashion for a Barcelona squad that will be itching to improve next year.