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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has appeared to rule out ever returning to Manchester United or the Premier League – while praising their rivals.

The Spanish centre-back joined United in 2004 having come through Barcelona’s youth academy but failed to establish himself at Old Trafford before sealing a return to the Nou Camp in 2008.

Pique has since won seven La Liga titles, three Champions League trophies, the World Cup and European Championships.

When asked if he would return to England, Pique told the Daily Star: “I don’t think so. I’m very happy here.

“It’s my home, with my family and friends, and playing for the club I always dreamed to play, and I hope to win more titles here.”

Having already risked irking his former club this week by publicly stating United midfielder Paul Pogba would be welcome at Barcelona, Pique did not hold back in his praise of their Premier League rivals.

The 31-year-old shared his admiration for Liverpool and reigning champions Manchester City.

“I think Jurgen Klopp is doing a great job at Liverpool. The style of play is the opposite of (Pep) Guardiola,” Pique said.

“They like to counter-attack and have very quick players up front who score goals – like Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane.”

“It will be a challenge for City as Liverpool have a great team and I think it will be quite exciting.”

“I think it’s difficult (to win the Premier League). City have a great team but I think they are slightly favourites.”

Barcelona have made a strong start to their La Liga title defence, picking up victories over Alaves and Valladolid.

Pique will be able to apply his full focus for Barcelona this season, having announced his international retirement following Spain’s exit from the 2018 World Cup at the hands of hosts Russia.

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