How Gerard Pique's amazing business empire turned him into a jet-setter who travelled more than any Barcelona player during international break | The Sun

GERARD PIQUE is building a burgeoning business empire that includes esports, sunglasses and even organic hamburgers.

The Barcelona defender is retiring from the game and announced he was leaving the Catalans after 14-years at the club.

The Spaniard revealed the news in an emotional video on social media, insisting Saturday's game will be his last at the Camp Nou.

Towards the end of the the emotional video, Pique said: "I have always said that after Barcelona there wouldn’t be another team and that’s the way it will be.

“This Saturday will be my last game in the Camp Nou.

"I will become a regular fan. I will support the team. I will pass my love of Barca to my children like my family did with me.

"And you know me. Sooner or later. I'll be back.

"I'll see you at the Camp Nou. Long live Barca. Always."

Pique, though, does have a career ready after football. Incredibly, he once travelled more on work matters than any of his team-mates have.

During two international breaks back in 2018, World Cup winner Pique travelled a total of 20,545 miles.

The Spain team in that same time period clocked just 6,900 miles.

Pique's many commitments mean he racked up more miles than anyone else at the club – despite no international fixtures typically meaning a less hectic schedule.

That is not the case with Pique, with his £2.3billion plan to revamp tennis' Davis Cup taking priority.

During that same international break, Pique, now 35, hopped on a plane to China for the 12,200-mile round trip to the Shanghai Masters.

After that came a 745-mile round trip to Madrid to tell people during a presentation that Rafa Nadal will play in his reformatted tennis event, which is being financially backed by Kosmos, the investment group he founded.

The first flight was a 7,600-mile round trip to New York for the US Open final – but it is all just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Pique's portfolio.

He started the Kypers sunglasses brand and models their shades for his 16.7 million Instagram followers.

A post shared by Shakira (@shakiramedia)

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They make an affordable line – the most expensive of their Pique 'premium' range on their website comes in at £70 while the cheapest are just under £22.

In 2013, Pique got together with leading meat company Noel Alimentaria to start producing organic hamburgers under the name Natrus.

They achieved sales just shy of £1m in their first year and Pique set up the Yours restaurant – where he was pictured taking ex-wife Shakira for a slap-up meal – but the businesses closed in October 2017.

One project Pique seems particularly proud of is his 426 Miles sports drink.

He hatched the plan with former Nou Camp team-mate Carles Puyol in 2016.

The pair came up with the brand name after hearing of a female polar bear that had to swim that distance over the course of nine straight days to reach dry land due to melting ice.

Described as the "first 100 per cent natural isotonic drink", a slick video on their official website shows Pique going for a run and Puyol playing tennis with the hashtag 'natural instinct'.

The beverage comes in 'Aurora' flavour – strawberries, watermelon and pineapple – and 'Polaris' – orange, lemon, papaya and apple – and costs around £2.60 in shops.

Pique was also involved in video game company, Kerad Games, together making Golden Manager in 2013 – a Football Manager-type game.

Just 26 when he launched what then was his first venture as an entrepreneur, the game challenged players to run a club not just as head coach but also manage finance issues much in the way a president would do.

It did not prove successful, however, and with reported losses of £2m closed in July, 2018.

Not that that has put him off though, with Pique founding eFootball.Pro in 2016.

And also in 2018, Barcelona signed an agreement with Pique to join its virtual league.

The three-time Champions League winner's business acumen is such that it has even led to him giving a talk at Harvard.

The world's most prestigious university enlisted Pique to lecture students on Barcelona as part of its 'entertainment, media and sports industry' masterclass last September.

His speech to 180 students came just after the man himself attended a business course at the American university.

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And the links to Harvard do not stop there, with Pique having lunch with former student and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in February 2016.

Posting a snap of the two of them along with billionaire Zuckerberg's wife Priscilla, Pique wrote: "Happy to see you again Priscilla and @zuck. Hope you have had a great time in Barcelona."

But Pique's off-field activities have also created awkward situations with his employer.

The centre-back was behind the production company that made a documentary following Antoine Griezmann through his decision-making process on whether to stay at Atletico Madrid or accept an offer to join Barcelona

Griezmann, much to Barcelona's chagrin, stayed put. However, he did get his move eventually.

Nor has he shied from taking part in the incredibly tense debate in Spain about Catalonia's secessionist movement, saying that while he doesn't want the wealthy northeastern region to break away, he does support efforts to hold a referendum on independence.

Whatever happens when his football career ends this weekend, Pique will have his fingers in plenty of pies.

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