Pique: Barca must strive to keep Thiago

The Blaugrana defender has urged his side to do everything in its 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 champion 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 teammate has urged the club to do everything it 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 center 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 center 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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