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The Blaugrana defender has urged his side to do everything in their power to retain the starlet, following months of speculation linking the U21 champion to the Premier League

Gerard Pique has called on Barcelona to "convince" wantaway midfielder Thiago that his future lies at Camp Nou.

The 22-year-old had been linked with a move away from the Spanish champions in recent months, and his fine performances at the European Under-21 Championship - including a hat-trick in Friday's 4-2 final victory over Italy - has prompted a sudden surge in speculation.

Yet his Barca team-mate has urged the club to do everything they possibly can to keep Thiago in Catalunya, although he appeared to remind the Italy-born ace that his predecessors also had to wait their turn before establishing themselves in the first team.

"There is a possibility that he can go, but we have to convince him that the best place for him is the club [Barcelona]," Pique told reporters.

"The players currently in starting positions were patient [for their turn] and have since marked an era."

Pique then paid tribute to Blaugrana colleague Carles Puyol, following the centre-back's return to the operating table to solve a long-standing knee problem, and Spain compatriot Iker Casillas, for his "surprising" performance against Uruguay in the Confederations Cup.

"When he is fit, he remains one of the top five centre-backs in the world," noted the former Manchester United man.

"I was also surprised with how good he was [against Uruguay] after not playing for months at Real Madrid."

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