TOP 5 Barca: Pique on trolling Real Madrid, Umtiti renewal, Iniesta, Rafinha, Dzeko

A Long Story | Gerard Pique for The Players Tribune

I’m going to let you in on a little inside information. Everybody knows that footballers have text groups on WhatsApp. I have one just for my friends from home, and I have another just for my Barca teammates. But my favorite one might surprise you. Earlier this season, when we were already 8 or 9 points clear of Real Madrid in the league, I started a special group for some of the guys on the Spanish national team who play for Real Madrid and Barcelona.

If you only read what the media says, you would think that we hate one another. But, in fact, we all get along really well, and we text back and forth about tactics and football philosophies and even the books we’re reading. No, come on, of course I’m joking! All we do in that group is talk shit to one another about Barça and Real! More here.

How has Messi’s leadership impacted Barcelona this season? | The Barcelona Podcast

Francesc and Dan answer the following key questions: What is the secret behind Valverde's success this season? Should Cules be concerned about Ronaldo challenging Messi for the Pichichi award in La Liga? Is there any weight in the rumours reporting neither Messi nor Suarez want Griezmann at Barca? Should Paco Alcacer be sold this summer?

Listen on Apple Podcasts iOS App, Spotify and, if you want to support the show, head over to Patreon for some more content!

Iniesta: I'm good enough to start for Barca for two more years | Goal

Iniesta: "Many things are going round in my head, some with more strength than others. There are a few weeks left where the decision to continue or not is there to be made. It's one of the most important decisions of my career and I understand that I am at an age where things change and other doors open that are very exciting in many ways.

"If I leave, it will be because I can't give 100 per cent as a player and as a person to my club. It will be a difficult decision regardless, but I'm very calm about it and I'm enjoying this year very much." More here.

CdS: Rafinha's resentment towards Barcelona | Sport

Inter are keen to sign the Brazilian midfielder, according to Italian newspaper 'Corriere dello Sport'. They have been impressed since he arrived in January and will exercise the clause they have which allows them to make the deal permanent.

Meanwhile, Rafinha, who's enjoying life in Milan, is also keen to stay, among other reasons, according to the reports in Italy, because he resents Barça's decision to put him on the market in January as soon as he came back from a long-term injury layoff. More here.

Barcelona would be wise to offer pay rise to lock down in-demand Samuel Umtiti | ESPN

Umtiti, still just 24, would have been equally at home in Cruyff or Guardiola's Barca sides. Rarely without a huge smile on his face, there can't be many more entertaining centre-backs in the game at the moment -- or better ones for that matter. Against Valencia in November at Mestalla, to cite one example, in a game between La Liga's unbeaten top two, he was phenomenal. At one point in the first half, he intercepted a Valencia cross with his chest in the area before scooping an outrageous pass over the head of an opponent and into the path of Paulinho. It was pure Umtiti and moments like that have been copied and pasted throughout the season. More here.

Dzeko: Roma have nothing to lose against Barcelona | Marca

Dzeko: "We will give everything we have and hope for the best," he said in an interview with Croatian newspaper Novi List. "If we play as a team once again and if we give everything then we can do something. We play without pressure. We have nothing to lose in these matches against Barcelona, we only have something to win." More here.

How has Messi’s leadership impacted Barcelona this season? | The Barcelona Podcast