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FC Barcelona News: 20 January 2016; Lionel Messi Not in 18-Man Squad for Copa del Rey Match

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FC Barcelona squad named for Copa del Rey quarter-finals first leg against Athletic Bilbao - Barca Blaugranes
The three expected absentees due to injury (Jordi Alba, Jérémy Mathieu) and suspension (Luis Suárez) are not in the list, but the major news is the confirmed absence of Lionel Messi. The Argentine will be rested for this Wednesday's match after the medical services advised the player and the coach not to risk any problems. Messi left the league game against Bilbao last Sunday with muscle pain, and while he's not injured, it was best to keep him out of tonight's match in order to avoid issues.

FC Barcelona squad arrive in Bilbao | FC Barcelona
After Luis Enrique announced his squad for Wednesday night’s Copa del Rey quarter final first leg against Athletic Club at San Mamés (9.00pm CET), the eighteen players made their way to Barcelona Airport for a charter flight that departed for Bilbao shortly after 11.00am local time and arrived just under an hour later.

Match Preview: Athletic Bilbao v FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
After facing city rivals Espanyol three times between the league and the Copa del Rey in early January, FC Barcelona find themselves in the midst of another trilogy of matches against Athletic Club Bilbao. The first instalment saw Luis Enrique’s team sweep aside the Basque club at Camp Nou last Sunday in the league, a Luis Suárez hat-trick helping the Catalans to a comprehensive 6-0 win.

Neymar ready to lead Barcelona in Messi and Suarez absence - ESPN FC
Barcelona will travel to Bilbao on Wednesday to face Athletic in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. While the Blaugrana managed to destroy their Basque opponents, 6-0, at the Camp Nou on Sunday, those expecting an easy ride in their upcoming clash could not possibly be more wrong.

Leo Messi: Neymar will win Ballon d'Or one day | FC Barcelona
Second in 2013 and 2014 in the battle for the Ballon d’Or, Leo Messi reclaimed the award in 2015 for a record fifth time. "The last two Ballon d’Or for Cristiano Ronaldo were well deserved" he says in an interview with France Football magazine. "I feel happy to come back and win it this year."

Luis Enrique: This time will be different | FC Barcelona
As he did on Saturday before Sunday’s league match at Camp Nou, which Barça won 6–0, the head coach sat, three days later, in the exact same seat and talked about the exact same teams. This time, however, they’ll be playing in a different competition in a different place — the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals at the Estadio de San Mamés in Bilbao.

Sergi Roberto is ‘Mr.Versatile’ | FC Barcelona
Sergi Roberto had shown in previous seasons an ability to adapt to several different positions in midfield. However, this season the man from Reus in the south of Catalonia has taken it up a notch with his versatility, having played in seven different positions this season for Luis Enrique’s team. In 25 appearances he has played a total of 1,666, finding the net once.

Valverde: Don’t pressure the ref | Football Espana
Ernesto Valverde doesn’t feel it is right to discuss the referee for the Athletic Bilbao-Barcelona Copa del Rey first leg. Luis Enrique on Tuesday expressed surprise that Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez had been assigned to the game after he took charge of a fiery Espanyol-Barca derby earlier in January.

Emirati cop in court for filming Lionel Messi passport - ESPN FC
A police officer in the United Arab Emirates has appeared in court over filming himself holding Barcelona star Lionel Messi's passport. Abu Dhabi's state-run The National newspaper reported on Tuesday that the police officer appeared in Dubai's Court of Misdemeanors over the posting the video to the mobile phone app Snapchat in December.