Gerard Pique has revealed Louis van Gaal told him he wasn’t “strong enough” to play for Barcelona .
The centre-back was in the youth ranks at La Masia when the Dutchman was Camp Nou boss, and recalls being told he didn’t have what it takes to make the step-up to the first team.
Pique left the Catalans without making a senior appearance when he made the switch to Manchester United in 2004.
However, the Spaniard featured just 23 times during a four-year spell with the Red Devils before he was sold back to Barcelona for £5million where he has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world.
Recalling his early days with Barca, Pique told TV3: “You never knew if he would be the first-team coach when you got there.
“He pushed me, he threw me to the floor. He told me I wasn’t strong enough to be a Barcelona player.
“He destroyed me. At Barcelona we didn’t do gym work until the age of 18. That was really hard.”