Wayne Rooney has revealed that Bolton Wanderers bullying of Gerard Pique during an away Premier League tie ended the 2010 World Cup winner’s Manchester United career.
Piqué joined the Manchester United academy in 2004, where he remained for four years before returning to Spain to join Barcelona in 2008.
And during his time at United, Pique won the Premier League, Community Shield and Champions League.
But it was a game against Bolton on November 24, 2007, that sealed his United spell.
And Rooney, writing in his column in the Sunday Times today, reckons Ferguson had seen enough when Pique was out-muscled at Wanderers, a notorious and difficult team to play against in the 2000s.
Bolton won that home match 1-0 with former Arsenal striker Nicolas Anelka getting the only goal.
Rooney said: “Bolton away was always horrible. It was physical and you knew you had to win the fight to win the game.
“Bolton away more or less finished Gerard Pique’s career at United.
“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 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.
“Bolton had bits of quality too and the way they fought and worked as a unit, then found moments to use that quality, was typical of how a team can beat better players by being more than the sum of its parts.
“It happened for Everton in the 1995 FA Cup final — I still don’t know how we beat United that day.
“It happened when United played Barcelona in the 2008 Champions League semi-final.
“Barca played the better football by a mile in both legs and that was 180 minutes of pure hard work, of hanging in there, and riding your luck.
“Real teams realise that sometimes you have to win ugly.”