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Gerard Pique and Shakira announce their separation

Gerard Pique and Shakira with the Copa del Rey trophy at Camp Nou in 2015.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and Colombian singer Shakira have announced their separation after 12 years together.

Speculation that the pair would part ways had been widespread in recent days and the couple confirmed the news in a statement to Spanish news agency EFE on Saturday.

"We regret to confirm that we are separating," it read. "For the well-being of our children, who are our highest priority, we ask for respect for our privacy. Thank you for your understanding."

Pique and Shakira met in the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and began their relationship shortly after the tournament, which was won by Spain.

The couple have two young children: Milan (nine years old) and Sasha (six).

Both Pique and Shakira were born on February 2, with the singer (who is 45) exactly 10 years old than the Barcelona defender.

No official reason has been given for the split, but reports in Spain claim Pique has been living alone for the last few weeks in a flat he owns in Barcelona.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.