Barcelona star Gerard Pique has admitted that he is still a fan of Manchester United and will prefer the Red Devils to their derby rivals Manchester City. The defender joined the 20-time English champions at the age of 17 in 2004 and returned to the Catalan club in 2008, where he was signed by Pep Guardiola for the La Liga giants.

Guardiola left Barcelona and after a three-year spell at Bayern Munich, the Spanish coach took charge at City earlier this summer. Pique played under the 45-year-old when the latter was at Camp Nou and won two Champions League and three La Liga titles.

The Spain international claims that he has always considered the Old Trafford club his second home. However, the centre-back admitted that he will follow City "fondly" this season as Guardiola's City and Jose Mourinho's side join other top clubs in the Premier League title race.

"Between Pep and United, I prefer the latter. I lived there a few very good years and I have always considered it my second home. I will always be a Red Devil," Pique told Marca.

"Although I have to admit that follow Manchester City fondly because there are more people I know, as in the case of Txiki [Begiristain], who helped me to come to Barcelona, and team-mates like [Jesus] Navas and [David] Silva. I like the Premier League as a fan. It is a league you quickly follow."

 Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique was at Manchester United from 2004 to 2008 Getty

Guardiola helped City to sign defender John Stones from Everton this summer. Pique has given his verdict on the England international after suggesting that he is the best centre-back in the country.

"Stones is a great player, the best central defender England have. I like how he plays [because] it is a style like mine," he explained.

"It is difficult to do well because it is playing a different way. Pep is going to help him to take risks with the ball a lot. This is also like poker, in which there are times you have to take risks. But being a defender, you have to control that risk. I think he'll do well."