Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Premier League

Fabregas will join Barcelona 'one day' says Pique

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes his international team-mate Cesc Fabregas will sign for the Catalan club one day.

Barca chased Arsenal captain Fabregas all summer, but ended up missing out on a deal as the 23-year-old pledged his loyalty to the Gunners - at least in the short term.

But Pique, who forced a Barca shirt over Fabregas' head in Spain's World Cup celebrations in Madrid last month, believes his close friend will play for Barca sooner or later.

"Cesc will one day sign for Barca," he said.

Pique missed Barca's 3-1 defeat by Sevilla in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup on Saturday, along with the rest of his side's World Cup winners.

The eight players had only been back in training for a matter of days and were also obliged to travel out to Mexico for an international friendly match.

Coach Pep Guardiola saw his squad stretched by that situation, and Barca have been short of numbers at the end of the last two campaigns as well.

This time around, Barca have signed David Villa from Valencia and utility man Adriano from Sevilla, but Yaya Toure has left the club to join Manchester City.

That leaves Barca with a small squad once again and more signings do not appear imminent.

Nevertheless, Pique believes quality is more important than quantity.

"It is better to have 19 very good players than 24 or 25 with less quality," he said.

"That is not a reference to Real Madrid. They have to strengthen more. They have to change more things to try and win, and so it's normal that they should sign more (players) than us."

Madrid are set for a change in style under Jose Mourinho and Pique is relishing the tactical battles ahead between Guardiola and the Portuguese coach.

"It will be fun. They are two coaches with different styles, even though Mourinho says he is an attacking coach," he said.

"But Guardiola has shown you don't need the character of Mourinho to become a great team."

Guardiola is likely to select several of his Spain stars on Saturday in the return leg against Sevilla, while some of the side's young players also look set to receive another opportunity.

"Using the youth team is always an effective solution for Barca," Pique said.

"They shouldn't be doubted (despite the defeat in Seville). They have shown they can perform well and we have to place our confidence in them."