Gerard Pique, the veteran Spanish defender of Barcelona for over 12 years, had a major brain-fog moment in their crucial Champions League match against Inter Milan at Camp Nou. And it was awkward, to say the least.
He was at fault for the equalizer by Nicolo Barella, who ghosted into the 6-yard box behind Pique, who a mere second earlier, left the cross by Alessandro Bastoni to float through into the danger area and signalled his teammates to calm down by raising his hands up in the air, totally unaware of the incredible irony of the moment.
The Italian, to his credit, took a delightful touch on his thigh and fired the shot towards a hapless Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who could only see the net bulge and the scoreboard ticked to 1-1.
The match ended after an exhilarating 90 minutes with the points shared at 3-3. But that was the beginning of the endless trolling, memes and criticism for Pique.
The coach, Xavi Hernandez was utterly unimpressed by the performance of his once-compatriot on the field.
He told in the post-match conference “This is the Champions League and you pay a high price for each error you make” clearly highlighting what had happened in the 49th minute of the match.
The barrage of memes
Fans have mocked the Blaugrana player, for making “Sunday League errors”, even after 18 years of top-flight experience.
Jokes, caricatures and GIFs have taken over Twitter and other social media platforms to make the most of the infamous moment.
Where did it go wrong for Pique?
Pique hasn’t had the best start to the season in 2022-2023 so far. Rarely featuring in any of the matches under Xavi, he kept falling down the pecking order, as Barca signed multiple defenders.
The fifth-choice centre-back has had similar error-prone periods, most notably in 2018-2019.
Under Ernesto Valverde, the defender’s poor run of form started in a 2-2 draw against Girona at home.
His slow & sluggish movements paved the way for the first goal and almost gave away a penalty in the build-up for the second.
Against Athletic Club, Pique was the scapegoat once again, where failed to hold the offside line and as a result, Oscar de Marcos snuck in at the back post, completely onside, to give Bilbao the lead.
At 35 years, the Spaniard has been showing signs of slowing down for the past few seasons. Many Twitter users have taken this chance to lay banter with the player, who once was considered to be one of the greatest defenders in football.
Retirement pleas, contract termination calls, and even suggesting that his actions leading to the goal were similar to that of his ex-girlfriend, Shakira.
The old guard of Barcelona, i.e., Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets & Gerard Pique are in the limelight of their careers.
The world-conquering teammates have Father Time catching unto them. With new faces coming into the squad, it is fair to say that they might just hand up their boots. Very soon.
Or face embarrassment like Pique towards the end of their glorious contributions to the footballing fraternity.