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The Barcelona centre-back is not sure just how far the Catalan side could go if they were to play in official international competitions but feels that they could hold their own

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes that the Catalan national team could compete with the best sides in the world.

The Spain international, 26, has represented the region on six occasions and is set to feature once more when they take on Cape Verde on Monday.

Catalunya are affiliated with neither Fifa nor Uefa so cannot compete in World Cups or European Championships but Pique is interested in how they might fare.

"World-class players will be on the pitch," he is quoted as saying by Marca on Monday's match.

"Yes, it is true that we could compete at a high level with other teams but I do not know how far we could get. It's important to see great football with no injuries."

Pique also gave his backing to team-mate Lionel Messi's Ballon d'Or bid, insisting that the Argentine is the best player in the world.

"Whoever wins it deserves it but Messi is the best in the world," the center-back remarked. "The team has managed without him in recent weeks but he is the best and gives us a lot."

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