Gerard Pique, Ousmane Dembele, Hector Bellerin, Sergi Roberto, Lionel Messi | Top 5 Barca

Gerard Pique retires for international football

Gerard Pique announced his intention to retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup after his decision to cut the sleeves of his Spanish shirt caused an unexpected torrent of abuse from fans and media outlets. Despite receiving support from the Spanish Football Federation, his decision looks final.

Pique explained: "Tired of this. The World Cup in Russia will be my final appearances with the national side and I hope I can go by calmly. It is not because of today, but it is one more thing that has happened on top of many. I have always given everything and nobody can doubt it, but there are people who think it's better that I am not here."

Francesc Tomas' view: "A long time coming, given the continued, unjustified abuse Pique has received whenever on international duty in recent years. At the same time, however, great news for Barca as the No.3 will be fully focused on winning trophies for the Blaugrana and have time to get his batteries charged up during international breaks. Delighted."

Ousmane Dembele eyeing Barca future

Ousmane Dembele considers he will join Barcelona in the future despite sealing a move to Borussia Dortmund this summer from Ligue 1 side Rennes.

Dembele also attracted interest from Barcelona but he rejected a chance to join them as he believed he would not get sufficient playing time at the moment due to Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Francesc Tomas' view: "Definitely a player to watch for the future but, at this moment in time, he was right to further his career in Germany."

Sergi Roberto, Cillessen doubtful for Manchester City clash

Jasper Cillessen and Sergi Roberto both picked up injuries while away on international duty. The Dutch goalkeeper hurt his knee while training with his Netherlands team-mates on Saturday. The inspired Catalan suffered a strain in his right abductor while training with the Spanish national team.

Francesc Tomas' view: "Sergi Roberto was in the form of his life before the injury, so let's hope he can not only regain full fitness but continue contributing as spectacularly as he has done so far this season."

Hector Bellerin would be Barca's top choice to replace Aleix Vidal

Hector Bellerin continues to be a priority for Barcelona, and even more so given the fact that Vidal has failed to even make the squad for the last six matches.

Although Arsenal's Catalan youngster would be the board's obvious first choice, the team are also keeping an eye on Valencia's Joao Cancelo, Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich, Shakhtar Donetsk's Darijo Srna and Juventus' Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Francesc Tomas' view: "Bellerin has progressed enormously since leaving La Masia. Now a regular starter at Arsenal, the Catalan would be an ideal signing due to his youth, fitness, potential and hunger for success."

Lionel Messi comes fourth in La Liga all-time best player study

Raul Gonzalez, Cesar Rodriguez, Telmo Zarra, Leo Messi and Enrique Castro 'Quini', in that order, are the best players in the 85-year history of La Liga, according to a study by the Centre for investigations into the history and statistics of Spanish football.

Top is Madrid's Raul, with 528 points, while second is Cesar Rodriguez 524, who spent most of his career at Barcelona. Third is Telmo Zarra, the Athletic player, with 493 points. Messi is fourth on 490 points.

Francesc Tomas' view: "The Spanish media are so biased it is beyond laughable. While the other legends who made the Top 5 deserve the utmost respect, nobody can deny that Messi is the best footballer in history, yet alone La Liga."

More Top 5 Barca

Latest Opinion by Francesc Tomàs