Shakira's Ex Gerard Piqué Announces Retirement From Soccer After Their Split

Piqué's announcement comes after Shakira said she sacrificed her career for him.

Nearly two months after Shakira admitted she felt like she sacrificed her career to put her ex, Gerard Piqué's, interests first, Piqué announced that he's hanging up his soccer cleats for good and calling it a career.

The 35-year-old soccer star announced the decision Thursday night with a moving video montage addressed to the FC Barcelona faithful by their Catalonian nickname, Culers. In the video, Piqué sits and watches old home footage of himself as a child, first rooting for Barça and then playing with the team's youth academy.

Piqué seemingly addresses all the talk surrounding his split from the "Hips Don't Lie" singer and her recent comments to Elle magazine when he says, "The last few weeks, months lot of people have been talking about me. Until now, I haven't said anything. But now, I want to be the one talking about me."

The soccer star then pivots to talking about his lifelong dream to be a Barça footballer and all the dreams he accomplished over the course of his marvelous career on the pitch. 

"I’ve been thinking a lot about that kid lately. About what little Gerard would have thought if he had been told that all his dreams would come true," he says in Catalan. "That he would make it to Barça first team. That he would win every trophy possible. That he would become European Champion. And World Champion. That he would play alongside the best players in history. That he would become one of the team’s captains. That he would make friends for life."

He added, "And now that all that kid’s dreams have come true, I want to tell you that I’ve decided that now is the time to bring this journey to its end. I’ve always said that there would not be any other team after Barça. And that’s how it will be."

Piqué, widely considered one of the best defenders of his generation and an integral member that led Spain to the 2010 FIFA World Cup title, said Saturday's game at Camp Nou (Barcelona's home stadium) will be his last there. Tuesday's match on the road in Pamplona, Spain, will officially bring a close to his career. Later in the video, he invoked his children -- sons Milan, 9, and Sasha, 7, whom he shares with Shakira -- though he didn't call them by name.

"I will become a regular fan. I will support the team. I will pass my love for Barça to my children, like my family did with me," he said.

According to ESPN, Piqué's retirement announcement came as a shock to his teammates and team personnel. The outlet reported that the team shared a meal together one day before the announcement. The team's president, Joan Laporta, also told ESPN that the soccer star had contemplated retirement for a while, but Thursday's news came as a shock and was unexpected.

In any event, the news comes nearly two months after Shakira told Elle magazine that her split from the soccer star after 12 years together was "probably the darkest hour of my life."

When asked about what ultimately led her to split from Piqué, Shakira seemed to cite the sacrifices she made career-wise for their family. Given he played for Barça all these years, the family was based in Barcelona. 

"I put my career in second gear and I came to Spain, to support him so he could play football and win titles," she said. "And it was a sacrifice of love. Thanks to that, my kids were able to have a present mom, and I have this amazing bond with them that is unbreakable and that sustains us."