But the Blaugrana faithful will still get their club fix in Russia as well, with plenty of their players featuring.
A total of 14 members of the Catalan club will be vying for glory at the World Cup – with Barcelona setting a new record by becoming the first club in history to have at least one player in every group at the World Cup:
Group A: Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
Group B: Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets (Spain)
Group C: Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti (France)
Group D: Lionel Messi (Argentina), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia)
Group E: Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho (Brazil)
Group F: Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Germany)
Group G: Thomas Vermaelen (Belgium)
Group H: Yerry Mina (Colombia)
Pires, 44, believes his compatriot will face many challenges if he decides on a move to Camp Nou this summer, chief among them fighting to get in the team – something he does not have to worry about at Atletico Madrid where he is the main man.
Pires told Mirror Football Podcast: “If he wants to take a risk, to take a new challenge, he can go to Barcelona. But it is not the same team, not the same level.
“If he wants to be comfortable, he can stay at Atletico Madrid. The balance is very difficult for him. It is very important for Antoine to make a very good decision. It is very difficult. On one side is Atletico Madrid, more comfortable, or Barcelona, more competitive. You have Messi, Suarez, Dembele, so it is not so easy.
“If he will stay at Atletico Madrid, he will be number one. If he goes to Barcelona, he is maybe number three or number four because you have Suarez and Messi. That’s why the next decision for Antoine Griezmann is very important. And of course, it also depends on the World Cup.”
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