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FC Barcelona News: 7 January 2015; Full Squad Trains Ahead of Copa del Rey Elche Clash

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The FC Barcelona squad get ready for the Cup | FC Barcelona
Barça continued their preparation for the Spanish Cup tie this week with a session on Wednesday morning at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. The squad returned to action following their open training session on Monday and a rest day on Tuesday. All the available first team players were present at the session along with Munir from the B squad.

When and where to watch FC Barcelona v Elche | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona play Elche on Thursday in the Spanish Cup. The game is being screened in a wide variety of countries on different channels, but if it’s not being shown where you are, fear not, for you can listen to live English language commentary on Radio Barça and on the international websites.

FC Barcelona and Elche meet in Spanish Cup for first time in 49 years | FC Barcelona
Thursday brings Spanish Cup action to the Camp Nou (10.00pm CET) in the form of the round of 16 first leg against Elche, the team Barça played on the opening day of the current Liga season, winning 3-0. The Catalans had little trouble getting through their first tound fixture with a 12-1 aggregate win over Huesca, while Elche faced a sterner test from Valladolid, eventually winning 1-0 to make it into the last sixteen for the first time in a decade.

FC Barcelona - Elche: Three matches in January | FC Barcelona
The vagaries of the fixture list mean that in the space of just two and a half weeks, the two clubs will meet no fewer than three times in January. Two of those encounters will come in the Spanish Cup, the first at home this week and the second on Thursday 15 at the Martínez Valero stadium. The winner of the tie will go through to face either Real Madrid or Atlético Madrid in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Andoni Zubizarreta's botched Barcelona transfers -
Andoni Zubizarreta has lost his job as Barcelona sporting director after four years in charge of the club's recruitment. Here are his biggest transfer disasters.

January 7 2013: Two years ago today Messi became the first man to win four Ballon d'Or | FC Barcelona
Leo Messi once again claimed the prestigious award in Zurich in record breaking fashion. The Argentine beat Cristiano Ronaldo and team mate Andrés Iniesta to claim the Ballon d’Or for the fourth time, beating the previous record of three awards held by Michel Platini, Marco Van Basten and Johan Cruyff.

Barcelona's problems continue as Lionel Messi's frustration grows by Graham Hunter - ESPN FC
But to fail to warn them both -- and Messi in particular -- that it was very likely to cost him a start at the Anoeta was either basic mismanagement of a complex character, who has often shown even Pep Guardiola and the late Tito Vilanova that dropping or resting him comes with consequences, or it was needless provocation; an "I'll show you who's boss" sort of thing.

La Liga - Luis Enrique needs good results to move past Barcelona's recent controversies - ESPN FC
The defeat at Real Sociedad was a disaster from start to finish, the start coming one hour before the game when Luis Enrique named his side with a host of star players left on the bench, right up to aftermath and more of the constant rumours that Lionel Messi is now closer than ever to a move to the Premier League.

Lionel Messi Luis Enrique Barcelona relationship 'ruptured' - reports - ESPN FC
Widespread reports in Spain say Enrique wanted to fine Messi for Monday's no-show, but was persuaded by senior players including Xavi Hernandez not to make a big deal of the incident, and the club allegedly used the excuse of gastroenteritis to attempt to cover for his absence. The issue is so serious that Wednesday's cover of Catalan daily Sport read: "Rupture -- Luis Enrique and Messi do not even talk."

Report: Chelsea contact Messi’s dad | Football Espana
Chelsea have contacted Lionel Messi’s father to discuss a summer transfer to Stamford Bridge, according to RAC 1. The radio station claims executives from the Premier League club have been alerted to the player’s situation at Barcelona, where his relationship with Coach Luis Enrique has hit an all-time low following his demotion to the bench for Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Real Sociedad.

Lionel Messi never closer to making Barcelona exit, says Guillem Balague | Football News | Sky Sports
"He has never been as close as this to leaving," said Balague. "That doesn’t mean he is going to leave. "What I mean is that it’s a possibility that has not only entered his mind – Barcelona were thinking of selling him about six, seven months ago.

Villarreal chase Arsenal star | Football Espana
Villarreal have joined the chase to land Arsenal winger Joel Campbell on loan until the end of the 2014-15 campaign. The Yellow Submarine believe the Costa Rica international would be the perfect complement to Denis Cheryshev on the opposite flank and feel they have a chance of bringing the 22-year-old to El Madrigal.

Norwegian wonderkid Martin Odegaard close to joining Real Madrid | Sky Sports
The 16-year-old attacking-midfielder is one of the most sought-after young players in world football and is believed to have had the choice of a plethora of Europe’s top clubs. Sky sources understand Odegaard has visited almost every top club in Europe, training with teams in England, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Athletic Bilbao beat Celta Vigo 4-2, Malaga sink Levante 2-0 | Sky Sports
Athletic Bilbao took a big step towards the last eight of the Copa del Rey after claiming a 4-2 away win over Celta Vigo on Tuesday. Belying their poor league form, where they have picked up just one point from their last four matches, Athletic struck twice in either half at Balaidos to put themselves in pole position for the return leg next week.

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