‘Fergie decided that, physically, he wasn’t right for the Premier League’: Wayne Rooney reveals Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson decided to sell Gerard Pique back to Barcelona after he was ‘bullied’ in defeat at Bolton
- Gerard Pique struggled to get to grips with a physical Bolton side back in 2007
- Spanish centre-half mistimed a clearing header to allow Nicolas Anelka to score
- According to Rooney, that game ended the Spaniard’s Manchester United career
- Ferguson decided that Pique couldn’t handle Premier League rough and tumble
Pique was at fault for the game’s only goal as Bolton beat United after he mistimed his jump to allow Nicolas Anelka in to score and was hooked for Anderson just before the hour mark.
Gerard Pique was sold by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after being ‘bullied’ in a match against Bolton in November 2007, according to Wayne Rooney
The Spanish centre-half was at fault for Bolton’s winning goal and Ferguson decided he wasn’t up to the physical challenge of the Premier League, selling him for £5m a few months later
At the end of that season, Ferguson decided to sell Pique back to Barcelona for £5million after just 23 appearances for United.
Pique went on to become a fixture in Barcelona’s defence, winning three Champions League crowns – two of which came after beating United in the final – and a host of domestic honours and Ferguson admitted he regretted selling him.
Writing in The Sunday Times, Rooney said: ‘Bolton away more or less finished Gerard Pique’s career at United.
Nicolas Anelka scored the game’s only goal after Pique had mistimed a clearing header
‘He was young and got bullied there and I think that’s when Fergie decided that, physically, he wasn’t right for the Premier League.
‘I always remember [Nemanja] Vidic: If we were going to Bolton – and it was the same when he was about to face Didier Drogba – he would be in the gym for two or three days before, pumping himself up.’
Rooney also revealed that United’s left-back Patrice Evra wasn’t especially fond of trips to Bolton either, especially the prospect of grappling with Kevin Davies.
‘Bolton away was always horrible,’ he said. ‘It was physical and you knew you had to win the fight to win the game.
‘I remember Evra saying about Kevin Davies: ‘I hate this person.’ On throw-ins, Kevin would go and pin the full back with his elbows all over their face and in challenges when the ball went down the line he would leave his foot in.’
Pique made 29 appearances for United before Ferguson sold him back to Barcelona for £5m