I look back on the last 10 years of my career, and I’ve won the World Cup, the Champions League, La Liga, the Spanish Cup … I’ve won it all, as I like to remind my Madrid friends on WhatsApp 😀
But 10 years ago, I was almost f***ed. My whole life could have turned out very different if it wasn’t for Sir Alex Ferguson.
I arrived at Manchester United a boy, and I left a man. It was a crazy time for me, because I had never been away from home before. I spent my first 17 years growing up in Spain in Barcelona’s youth academy, and it almost felt like I was playing for the local school team or something. I knew everybody there, and I was close to my family. So, to me, football was just fun. I didn’t understand the business side of the game at all. Then I arrived at United, and honestly, it was a complete shock.
One of my very first matches at Old Trafford, we were in the dressing room getting ready, and I was nervous as hell. Imagine it — I’m 18 years old, and I’m sitting in that little dressing room putting on my socks next to Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand. I wanted to be invisible. I was thinking, Just do your job and go unnoticed.
So we’re sitting there waiting for the gaffer to come in and speak to us, and I’m literally sitting right next to Roy Keane. The dressing room is so small that our legs are almost touching. There’s no space at all.
It’s dead quiet. All of a sudden, you could hear this little vibration. Very soft.
Written by Gerard Piqué for The Players Tribune