Why did Gerard Pique get his last career red card against Osasuna?
The center-back was named on the bench for the clash as Barcelona are facing a shortage of backline players due to injuries. But he was soon handed his marching orders at the break for protesting to the officials.
In the first half, Barca was trailing 1-0 to host Osasuna, and their striker, Robert Lewandowski, was sent off for clattering into David Garcia, forcing the visitors to play the rest of the match with only 10 men. At the end of the first half, Pique walked onto the pitch to say something to referee Manzano, then followed him into the tunnel. At first, Mr. Manzano also put his hand on Pique's shoulder to be friendly. But when he entered the tunnel, he just drew a red card to disqualify the 35-year-old center-back.
Barca had to receive two red cards in the first half, one for Lewandowski and one for Pique.
In his post-match report, referee Manzano explained the reason for Pique's red card: "After the first half, in the tunnel near the dressing room, he said to me: 'What kind of situation have you put us in? You're the referee who ruined us the most by far."
When the Barca representative was informed about Pique 's red card, the central defender got angry and repeatedly cursed at the referee. The Barca representative had to lead Pique into the dressing room, but on the way in, he said to the referee: "You are so disgraceful.".
Pique cried during the win over Almeria in La Liga on November 5, his last match at Camp Nou. Due to Barca's central defender crisis, he continued to be included in the registration list for the match against Osasuna. But a red card at halftime ended Pique's chance to play, and that meant he played the last game of his career against Almeria.
In the second half of the match, Pedri scored to equalize the game for Barca in the 48th minute. Then, Raphinha's late header unexpectedly sealed Barca's 2-1 win and gave them three more points to reclaim first place in La Liga. Makeshift center-back Frenkie de Jong picked out the run of the Brazilian in the 85th minute, and he produced a brilliant finish to score just his second goal of the season the day after he bemoaned his lack of goals since joining from Leeds United.
Lewandowski will be suspended for one game, but the sentence could be aggravated because he used hand gestures in response to referee Manzano's decision. The referee discovered Lewandowski's inappropriate behavior and recorded it in the post-match report.
Pique is not the first player to end his career with a red card. At the 2006 World Cup final in Germany, Zinedine Zidane also hung up his boots after headbutting Italian midfielder Marco Materazzi in the chest, causing him to be sent off. Former French midfielder Loic Perrin, Dutch midfielder Mark van Bommel, or striker Ivan Zamorano received red cards at the end of their careers as well.
Zinedine Zedane also ended his career with a red card after headbutting Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final.
Besides, Pique has also gone down in the history books as the Barcelona player, along with Stoichkov, who has received the most red cards in his career in all competitions. To be precise, both players received 11 red cards. If we look at the La Liga alone, both of them were unable to finish 8 games, a figure also shared with former Barca player and headcoach, Pep Guardiola.