Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique has revealed why he had to leave Manchester United. [Reuters] Getty Images

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has finally revealed that homesickness was the main reason he felt he had to leave Manchester United back in the summer of 2008.

The Spain international came through the Barcelona youth system but was convinced to join United by Sir Alex Ferguson when he was just 17-years-old.

He initially struggled to make a significant impact in the first team and it was only in the 2007-08 campaign that he was finally handed several appearances in the Premier League and three in the Champions League.

Pique would eventually seal a return to Barcelona for just £5m in the summer of 2008 and has gone on to enjoy a wonderfully successful career back at the Camp Nou. He has won an astonishing 16 titles and has been a key figure at the heart of the Catalan club's defence.

The 26-year-old is now on the verge of extending his contract with Barcelona and has finally explained the reason he simply had to leave Manchester United five years ago.

When asked by Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo whether he was in discussions to sign a new contact, Pique said: "We have started, yes.

"Everything is very well with the club. Everyone knows that I am a Barcelonista. I tried having an adventure abroad with Manchester, and I can say that there is no place like home.

"I spent four years away, but here I have family and close friends every day."

Pique still has two years to run on his current deal but it seems unlikely he will depart with Barcelona once again the favourites to win the title after an impressive start to the season under new boss Tata Martino.