Barcelona defender rules out Manchester United return

Gerard Pique has ruled out a return to Manchester United, insisting he will fight to force his way back into Luis Enrique’s Barcelona side.

The defender initially left Catalonia for Old Trafford as a 17-year-old in 2004, but although he was part of the squad which won the Premier League and UEFA Champions League double in 2008, he was never able to break up the hugely successful pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the heart of the Reds back four. So although Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to keep the Spaniard in Manchester, he reluctantly agreed to let him return to the Camp Nou that summer.

Pique has since established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe, and has helped Barca win a whole host of honours, including four league titles and two Champions Leagues. However, he has fallen out of favour in recent times under new coach Enrique, and he has featured in just eight of their 15 matches in all competitions and not since the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid on 25 October.

This has led to speculation that the 27-year-old could seek a transfer when the window reopens, with Louis van Gaal said to be willing to offer the 6ft 4in player a route back to Manchester. But Pique has dismissed reports he could be ready for a fresh move, and insists he is not willing to throw away his career with Il Blaugrana just because he has been overlooked in recent games.

“I think not to play two or three matches (and then leave) would not be consistent,” Pique told Movistar TV, as reported by the Daily Mail on Saturday afternoon. “Barcelona is my life and I do not plan to leave. I will continue to fight for a place. It’s a player-coach relationship [between him and Enrique], he is the one who decides and players try to do what he wants from us.”

It is clear that van Gaal needs more defensive options at United, but this could prove more difficult than perhaps he envisaged. Whilst Pique no longer seems to be a viable option, another target, the German international and Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels, could cost the Premier League giants as much as £47million, according to a report in the Sun on Sunday.

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