Gerard Pique retirement: Why did the Barcelona great step down in the middle of the season?

Gerard Pique was a member of two of football's most successful teams, standing tall in defence and winning every possible prize.

The footballing world was shocked on Thursday when highly decorated Barcelona and Spain footballer Gerard Pique announced his retirement in the middle of the season. 

Pique announced his retirement in an emotional video posted on social media.

Pique was a key member of two of football's greatest successful teams, standing tall in defence with another icon, Carles Puyol, when Spain won back-to-back European titles and the World Cup in 2008 and 2012.

He was a member of Barcelona's home-grown core of players, alongside Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and others.

With Pique bolstering the defensive line, Barcelona's dream team won every trophy available.

Pique was undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the world for a decade in his heyday and one of the most recognisable figures at Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium. 

Pique was also one half of a worldwide popular celebrity pair with his partner, world-renowned pop diva Shakira.

His abrupt retirement from professional football stunned both players and the media. According to reports, there are several reasons behind his surprise decision.