Gerard Pique has spoken fondly of Rio Ferdinand, who acted as a mentor for him in his time at Manchester United.

“What you have to remember about Rio is that he always cost so much money,” Pique said. “He has always had to maintain a very high level to justify the price tags. That is why the fact that he has always performed game after game, season after season, at such a high level has so much value. Nobody could have asked any more of him throughout his career.”

It’s not just Rio who Pique looked up to, with him singling out a couple of others for praise too.

“To play alongside players such as Rio, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, who for me is one of the greatest players in the history of football, is unforgettable and invaluable in terms of what I then went on to do.”