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Barcelona: Xavi: I don’t know if I’ve been fair with Pique, I’ve been true to my thoughts

Gerard Pique will play his final home game for Barcelona on Saturday against Almeria, having announced on Thursday that he will retire from professional football mid-season.

Xavi Hernandez has confirmed in his pre-match press conference, though, that Saturday will not be his final game for the club and he will also be available against Osasuna on Tuesday.

Although Xavi hasn’t always played his former teammate, the current coach has called on the fans to give the centre-back the send-off he deserves.

??”We want to take the three points.,” Xavi said. “It’s important to put pressure on Real Madrid and show that we are in a good place.

“The game is totally conditioned by Gerard‘s farewell. He deserves all the praise from Barcelona fans. I have been lucky enough to be his teammate and coach.

“I understand the circumstances that have made him decide this. He plays less, feels less useful and wants to step aside. He is very proud. He had a contract and could have continued to be paid, but he has decided this.

“I wish him all the best and I hope that Barcelona fans value him for what he is: a legend.

“I don’t know if I have been [fair with Pique]. I know I have been sincere and honest with the message and with what I believed. That’s what I’ve always let him know.

“He’s always been an example for the team. He’s never made a fuss. He’s trained at 100 percent and he’s been exemplary. I have been honest with him and the circumstances have meant that he has decided to call it a day.”

Xavi didn’t reveal whether or not the centre-back would start on Saturday, though he did say that Barcelona were “counting on him until that game” away to Osasuna on Tuesday.

The coach then continued to praise his player.

“We had a conversation before the start of the season. I told him my intentions. It was one of the most difficult days of my coaching career,” Xavi said. “That moment of talking to him as a coach. The one now as well.

“He has been my partner. I’ve been through those circumstances and it’s difficult to manage.

“These are decisions that are made for the good of the team, the good of the club. I have looked at what is best for the team, for the club. I think there were times when others had to play before Gerard.

“It’s difficult, it’s hard, because he has been my teammate and I love him very much, but I have to look out for the good of the club.”

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