Pique only burst onto the scene after failing to make his name at Manchester United in 2008, slotting perfectly into the Barcelona defence and cementing a place for his country as well.
Following in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas when swapping the Barcelona youth programme for the Premier League in 2004, Pique did not enjoy the same stellar rise as the Arsenal midfielder and his most productive season as a United player came in 2006-07 when he impressed back in Spain during a loan spell with Real Zaragoza, often playing as a holding midfielder. With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in impeccable form, Pique made only five league starts the following season and was left out of the squad for the Champions League final victory over Chelsea.
But his return to the Nou Camp in the summer of 2008, despite the anger generated by his departure four years earlier, marked a rapid upturn in his fortunes and he quickly became a key figure in Pep Guardiola's six trophy winning Barcelona side. His rise was complete as he played a major part in Spain's 2010 World Cup win in South Africa.
Strengths: A commanding presence in the backline thanks to his strength and reading of the game, Pique has also demonstrated a real panache for taking the ball out of defence and was dubbed "Piquenbauer" by a Catalan paper last season when attracting flattering comparisons with legendary German sweeper Franz Beckenbauer.
Weaknesses: Not the quickest defender, Pique can be exposed by real pace on occasions.
Career high: A World Cup win, but also playing against his former employers Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final and beating Sir Alex Ferguson's side 2-0 in Rome, securing an historic Treble in the process.
Career low: Failing to make the bench for United the previous season as they enjoyed a dramatic night in their Champions League win of 2008 in Moscow.
Style: Dominant, dangerous, stylish, a cultured defender.
Quotes: "I have always liked the boy. I did expect him to reach this level so quickly. He has fantastic qualities but most importantly, he has a good self-determination about him. He is a winner and a good professional." Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, May 2009.
Trivia: Pique is one of only three players to have represented two different clubs that have won the Champions League in successive years. The others are Marcel Desailly (Marseille and AC Milan) and Paulo Sousa (Juventus and Borussia Dortmund).