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FC Barcelona News: 5 January 2017; 18 Players Make Bilbao Trip for First Match of 2017

FC Barcelona training session Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Copa del Rey preview: Athletic Club v FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
The Christmas break is over and FC Barcelona’s first game of 2016 comes on the evening that the Three Kings arrive in Spain from the Orient bearing gifts. In keeping with the occasion, it’s a King’s Cup round of 16 fixture and hopefully the players will be delivering gifts of their own in the form of goals against Athletic Club Bilbao. Kick off at San Mamés is at 9.15pm CET.

First matchday squad announcement of the year | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona is ready for the first game of 2017 on Thursday against Athletic Club in the first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16. The game pits the two Copa del Rey heavyweights against each other with Barça having won the competition 28 times and Athletic not far behind on 23. This highlights the importance of Thursday's game.

FC Barcelona arrive in Bilbao ahead of Copa del Rey clash | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona have arrived in Bilbao. Luis Enrique’s men left El Prat airport at 10.00am CET and landed around an hour later ahead of tonight’s Copa del Rey last-16 first leg match against Athletic Club (9.15pm CET kick off). Barça take on Ernesto Valverde’s side aiming to head towards their third successive cup haul.

Luis Enrique: Players ready for 'tough tie' in Bilbao | FC Barcelona
Although the prime motive for his appearance was to discuss Thursday's first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 tie against Athletic Club de Bilbao, the manager, fresh off a two-week winter holiday, was probed from a multitiude of angles, with queries about tomorrow's match interspersed with others regarding his players' health, his expectations for the new year, and, mutliple times, his coaching future.

When and where to watch Athletic Club v FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona’s first challenge of 2017 is a tough one, with a trip to Bilbao to take on Athletic Club in the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16. The two sides have met on several occasions over the years in the competition and always produce a fine spectacle.

FC Barcelona’s challenging January schedule | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona face a busy start to the new year with a host of matches starting with a Copa del Rey last-16 first leg match against Athletic Club. As well as an already packed fixture list, the number of games could increase should the Catalans progress past the Basques in the cup.

Inside view: FC Barcelona's most extraordinary training session of the year | FC Barcelona
On Tuesday, it was a training session with a difference at FC Barcelona. The venue was the Miniestadi and the doors were opened so that over 10,000 people could swarm in to watch Luis Enrique overseeing preparations for the Copa del Rey trip to Bilbao on Thursday.

Sampaoli wants to manage Messi: 'Who wouldn't like to coach him?' | ESPN
Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli has dropped another hint that he would be keen to manage Barcelona one day by acknowledging he'd love to coach Lionel Messi. Current Barca boss Luis Enrique is out of contract in June and has not yet committed his future to the club beyond the end of the current campaign, leading to reports about potential replacements if he chooses not to renew.

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