Updated. Don't know if I've been a bit harsh with some values... after I finished the update I took a look at his Konami set from 2011 and it's little reliable as he was overrated like crazy (93 DEF or something like that). I think Piqué was always just a "good" defender with excellent technical and distributing skills that profited from being paired with the best CF in spanish history (Puyol). Puyol was so inmense during the 00s that he just made almost every other defender look great by his side. Regarding Piqué... it's obvious he's been slacking for years, but even at his best, he probably looked way better than he was thanks to Puyol, and some of this greatest flaws were probably there all along.
I've also removed the 'abilities explanations', as it looks like random shite. Here:
- Spoiler: show
- ABILITIES EXPLANATION:
Piqué simply stands out, by far, as being the best young central defender within this area and it is something of an irrefutable fact, as can plainly be seen. Piqué’s positional sense is certainly one of his best assets as a defender, and at a level far beyond what is considered normal for most central defenders of his age. Positional sense and anticipation is something that, for the vast majority of football players, comes with time and experience and through trial and error. Yet Piqué seems to be showing a tremendous calibre of positioning at what can only be described as an essentially tender age. He is always in the right place, at the right time and is able to make terrific blocks when the opposing player attempts to shoot or provide a pass. His positional sense is so attuned that, like William Gallas, he is able to pinch the ball from the feet of the opposition with total ease simply because he puts himself in the kind of positions where he does not need to be backpedalling or to be physically dominant. This is a trait that we have seen for many years with the likes of Costacurta and Maldini and whilst Piqué certainly isn’t at the same level as those legends, there is a distinct similarity in their use of their defensive skills and tactical knowledge. But the reason, by far, that stands out for him warranting such a high Defence value is, of course, his tackling. When he tackles it is fantastically crisp and very accurate, and it’s quite a rarity to see Piqué draw a foul or get booked. His clean tackling often provides a stark contrast to the bustling tackling style of Carles Puyol and you could argue that this is one of the reasons why Piqué comes across as being more cultured than Captain Caveman. In all, his excellent defensive aptitude has enabled him to displace the increasingly mercurial Rafael Márquez from the first team line-up and has effectively made the injury troubles of Gabi Milito a thought that scarcely crosses the mind of many Barcelona fans – for they know that they have an equally solid, and potentially superior defender to the Argentine.
One could presume that Piqué’s height and cumbersome build could prove to be an inhibitor, in which he would struggle to turn as sharply as a shorter defender, such as Puyol. In turn, this would prove to be quite problematic when he’d be faced against pacy, positionally attuned with a good sense of timing, right? Well, to conclude that Piqué is an un-agile defender is an erroneous conclusion. The simple reason why it does not spring to mind immediately when we think of Piqué are because of his other infallible qualities and also because Piqué is not often put in the position where he has to show his tremendous nimbleness. As I have stated before, Piqué’s superb positional sense results in Piqué not often being in the situation where he has to swivel and follow a wily attacker. Yet on the odd occasion that he has to, such as when he has been faced against the likes of David Villa, Sergio Agüero or Luís Fabiano, he has shown just how formidable a defender he can be by incorporating a high level of agility. Like Jonathan Woodgate at Tottenham, Piqué has that most unique ability of truly excellent tall defenders by being able to pivot and turn sharply on the spot and to remain goal-side of his marker unbeknownst to the opposing player themselves, thus giving the defender a unique advantage and giving the opposing forward a torrid time. Thierry Henry has said on many occasions that Jonathan Woodgate is the most difficult defender that he has come up against, and this is the prime reason why – because Woodgate can cling to Henry throughout one of Thierry’s runs because he can effectively, albeit not in terms of PES stats, match Thierry in terms of nimbility. But let’s not forget that this isn’t the only way in which Piqué exhibits his surprising nimbility. One of the more common scenarios in which we’ll see Piqué show his agility is when he plucks a ball out of the air with his excellent first touch and then turns sharply to either cross the ball or go on one of his famed runs forward. Honestly, you just have to watch him closely and you’ll realise just how graceful and lithe Piqué is!
There are many comparisons in football that can go awry and more often than not people will attribute a comparison based on a physical look or a past playing in the same position. More often than not, these comparisons are completely inaccurate or the player themselves fails to make the grade. Yet with Piqué the comparison to Beckenbauer is not completely erroneous, there are certainly a few areas where the comparison is tangible. This then, is one of the areas where the comparison is definite. You will often hear that Piqué is a cultured defender, something that we associate with a European style of defending rather than the hussle-and-bustle of a typical English or German central defender. Yet cultured, in this sense seems to relate more to Piqué’s technical skills. Piqué is truly impressive when it comes to his passes from deep, and has proved that he can make many goal-scoring opportunities. He can hit a long pass with beautiful finesse and precision, with the pass itself always reaching the head or upper chest of the intended target. This is something we scarcely see with most central defensive long-ball merchants, most just hoof the ball in a similar manner to which they clear the ball from danger i.e. Richard Dunne. Yet increasingly we are seeing central defenders with these kinds of skills, players like Rochat, Agger, Kompany and Heitinga are becoming increasingly more common these days. Yet Piqué’s long passing surpasses all of those aforementioned players and the more I see of Piqué, the more I’m coming to the agreement that his long passing will surpass Marquez’s because, quite frankly, his long passing is every bit as good as Marquez’s these days, if not better! Piqué just seems to be able to strike a fantastically well-placed pass with a good measure of power and distance. He’s unique in how he’s become a threat from far away with his passes from which the opposition is truly scared, it’s as if he’s the intercontinental ballistic missile of football!
One of things that will endear you to Piqué is not that he shows a quality at a very high level for a young player; it’s that he shows quality in nye on every area for a player in general. He is very much a well-rounded central defender and there really isn’t an area in which he struggles (Well, he could be pacier), and his aerial ability is another of those areas in which he remains incredibly skilled. His heading comprises of excellent technique, a lot of power and a great deal of accuracy. You can’t accuse Piqué of being lacklustre with his heading; when heading to a team-mate, the headers are weighted surprisingly well and they always reach their intended target – it is a very rare sight to see a Piqué header go astray. And when he joins the attacking set-pieces his heading can be truly lethal, although it may not be reflected in his goal tallies. But one of the reasons why he is such a tour de force in the air is because he can also garner a great deal of height in his leaps. Belied with his towering physique, Piqué can jump highly and is able to effectively have a “free header” – a header in which he is unchallenged. Sure, he’s no Puyol in terms of the height he achieves on his leap; even Marquez achieves more height in his jumps than Piqué. Yet Piqué uses it to a great effect due to the overall package he provides for an aerial battle i.e. his heading ability, his leap and his great strength.
Now this is the kind of player that truly needs to be discussed when it comes to rating players, people often clump static players and lazy players together. By doing that, we are given the wrong impression that someone like Piqué or Ferdinand is lethargic just because they don’t cover a lot of ground and because they don’t hound players down like a Gattuso incarnate. And unfortunately, this leads to a lot of stats-makers inaccurately giving those players Mentality values in the low 70’s (Why just the other day PSD had Ruud Van Nistelrooy on a 74 for Mentality. Now that’s worrying!). It’s as if people forget that the Mentality stat also affects the behaviour of the player after conceding a goal or when facing adversity. This sums up Piqué quite nicely to be honest. He isn’t a combative central defender like Puyol; in fact it is that central defensive pairing that provides a wonderful contrast or a ying-yang kind of relationship that we’ve seen with the Terry-Carvalho and Vidic-Ferdinand pairings in the Premier League. Piqué is more of a relaxed central defender, he doesn’t hound players down to win the ball because he doesn’t need to – his tremendous positioning, tackling and general reading of the game enable him to win the ball regardless. This is very much something that we’ve seen with Rio Ferdinand over the years, although with Ferdinand it has proved – quite often – to be more of a folly than a mark of genius.
I truly believe that this is one of the most edifying areas of Gerard Piqué; the absolutely fantastic understanding he has forged with his team-mates. At Zaragoza he forged a famously solid partnership with Gabi Milito, and showed an almost omniscience understanding of where his team-mates in front of him would move. This belied with the ability to be a vocal leader of the back-line formed a strong defence for Zaragoza, a trait which helped their fantastic ascent to 6th place in La Liga during the 2006-2007 season. Whilst Piqué never had the chance to show his ability to do this at Manchester United, due to him being the fifth choice central defender, the move to Barcelona certainly did and he’s never looked back. Last season you’ll be hard pushed to find a better central defensive pairing than the Piqué-Puyol partnership, they just worked in terrific concert with each other and both knew exactly what the other would do. In combination with their terrific defensive and tactical skills, they forged an impregnable defensive line. Víctor Valdés may have had one of the highest clean sheet totals last season, but most will agree that it was the fantastic partnership in front of him that made his job far easier than before. But let’s not forget one of the other reasons for his high Team Work value! We have to consider the effect that it will have on his passing and if there is one thing that you can say about Piqué, it’s that he has tremendous vision. When Pique makes a pass he’ll do either two things; he’ll either make a laser accurate pass aimed for the players head and upper chest, or he’ll perform a long-pass in a manner of Scholes and pass the ball so that it lands perfectly in front of the on-coming winger or forward. With that kind of intuitiveness coming through in his playing style, you have to wonder whether he really should be played as some sort of deep-lying playmaker.
Now I’m sure that the inclusion of this special ability is something that is likely to kick up a storm. This is an area of Piqué’s playing style in which the comparison to Beckenbauer is definite. For a central defender, Piqué loves to go forward and join the attack yet he does it without it being at the behest of the defence. When in possession of the ball, Piqué will run forward with it bring it up to the midfield and, quite often, past the halfway line and then playing a short pass diagonally to one of the wide midfielders or to Xavi. Piqué is very much like Lúcio or Madjid Bougherra in how he is prepared to make a marauding run into the oppositions half when in possession of the ball, and it’s something that Beckenbauer used to do all the time when he was played as a Libero. As for his dribbling skills themselves, he incorporates a high level of control of the ball for a central defender. What’s more, he loses little pace whatsoever when running with the ball and that is something you don’t often see with central defenders – most will just walk when in possession of the ball, à la John Terry or Marco Materazzi.