When the squad comes in to train on Wednesday there will only be seven players available - Pinto and Fontàs, as well as the injured Puyol, Piqué, Maxwell, Adriano and Afellay, as the international calendar again cuts swathes through Guardiola’s squad.

Friendlies and qualifiers

Éric Abidal will play two European Championship qualifiers with France – against Albania on September 2nd and Rumania four days later. Valdés, Montoya, Busquets, Cesc, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Villa and Thiago are in the Spanish squad for the friendly against Alexis Sanchez’s Chile in Switzerland and the qualifier against Liechtenstein, in Logroño next Tuesday. Sanchez will be in action for Chile on Sunday in another friendly –against Mexico at Espanyol’s Cornellà-El Prat Stadium.

Keita back with Mali

After a year’s absence, Seydou Keita will reappear for Mali against Cape Verde in an African Cup of Nations qualifier. Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano both make long journeys for the friendly against Venezuela in Calcutta on Friday and against Nigeria in Dhaka four days later. Finally, Dani Alves’ Brazil face Ghana in London on September 5th.

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