Gary Neville is one of Manchester United’s best ever players, but he’d struggle in today’s game, says Gerard Pique

Gerard Pique has detailed how modern football would leave many of his former Manchester United teammates in the past.

The Barcelona legend began his professional career in England, arriving at a United team who were at their best under Sir Alex Ferguson.


Pique played with number of Premier League greats while at UnitedCredit: Getty

The Red Devils were staging an epic rivalry with Arsenal when the Spaniard rocked up in 2004, and they were already in their groove with the famous ‘Class of 92’ academy graduates among the best players in the world.

Champions League winners in 1999, United would win another with Pique in 2008, and a month later he would return to Barca and become an icon.

The now-retired defender won three more Champions League titles with his boyhood club, and added a further nine LaLiga titles, along with a World Cup and European Championship triumph with Spain.

But none of that would have been possible without his Old Trafford experience, as he told talkSPORT.

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“It was amazing at that time,” he began. “I arrived to the club very young but you got to training and there was [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes, Gary Neville, so that generation from ‘92 I think was incredible.

“But at the same time we had [Wayne] Rooney, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, all the youngsters that were coming.

“I remember that time was crazy, every training session was a chance to prove that I could play at that level. It was tough, I can tell you, because every day you have to mark Rooney, Ronaldo or [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy, but your level gets better and better.”

When talkSPORT host Andy Goldstein joked that he was surprised to hear Neville’s name in the list, Pique joined in on the fun.

Neville enjoyed a trophy-filled career at United, but today's game is very different


Neville enjoyed a trophy-filled career at United, but today’s game is very differentCredit: Getty Images – Getty

“I put Gary Neville because I was mentioning all the Class of 92, not because of his level!” he said with a laugh.

“He will kill me now! Gaz I love you. I love Gaz and he’s an amazing right-back, one of the best in Manchester United’s history, very English style, he loves to tackle and go to the grass.

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“I remember one game against [Jose Antonio] Reyes at Old Trafford he just destroyed him, but it was his style, I love the guy.”

Asked if Neville could still stand-out in the modern game compared to right backs like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker, Pique gave a resounding no, but not just for Neville.

He explained: “I think that football has developed so much in the last few years. I think any centre-back or right-back in the 90s or any left back or any keeper could not play now.

“Not because they didn’t have the talent, they had the talent, but because the way of playing is totally different.

“A keeper of the 90s it was just about saving, now you have to play with the feet and they weren’t trained to do that.”


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