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FC Barcelona News: 8 February 2018; Gerard Pique Escapes Celebration Punishment, Squad Named for Valencia Match

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Espanyol v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

COPA DEL REY PREVIEW: Valencia v FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
A place in the 2017/18 Copa del Rey final is at stake in this winner-takes-all semi-final second leg. Mestalla will be packed to capacity as Barça seek to continue their positive recent record at the stadium 9.30pm (CET).

Squad announced to face Valencia in Copa del Rey second leg | FC Barcelona
The 18 players that will be leaving on a 10.35am CET flight on Thursday morning are therefore as follows: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Iniesta, Luis Suárez, Messi, Cillessen, Coutinho, Paulinho, Paco Alcácer, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal, Umtiti and Yerry Mina.

Ernesto Valverde feels Barça will need to score in Mestalla to get through | FC Barcelona
However, according to coach Ernesto Valverde his team cannot afford to be complacent. “Taking into account the offensive potential that Valencia have and playing in Mestalla, I have the feeling that to get through we will have to score,” said the Barça boss.

No sanction for Barcelona’s Gerard Pique over celebration vs. Espanyol | ESPN
No action will be taken against Gerard Pique for his goal celebration against Espanyol at the weekend, but La Liga has said that similar cases could be punished in future. Pique scored Barca’s late equaliser in Sunday’s Catalan derby and celebrated by raising his finger to his lips to shush the home supporters.

Gerard Pique’s gesture sparks change in La Liga protocol on celebrations | ESPN
La Liga has announced that it will now notify the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) of “clear simulations and provocative goal celebrations” which are not mentioned in the referee’s game report after Espanyol supporters objected to Gerard Pique’s goal celebration in Barcelona’s draw at Espanyol on Sunday.

Philippe Coutinho: Andres Iniesta’s ‘genius’ and Lionel Messi ‘honour’ | Sky Sports
Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool in January in a deal worth a £142m. He has so far started two games for his new club and come off the bench in two others. And he has been telling La Liga World about the experience of playing and training alongside the likes of Iniesta, Messi and Luis Suarez.

Barca must balance cup, league ambition to prevent critical burnout | ESPN
One of the things that will be troubling the bright, competitive mind of Ernesto Valverde is whether FC Barcelona currently have an unhealthy or even Pyrrhic relationship with Spain’s Copa del Rey?

The top five goals of the week from La Masia | FC Barcelona
Enjoy the best five goals from the youngsters at the Barça academy during the weekend of February 3 and 4. The scorers are Zaca Gahailan from U16A, Alejandro Marqués and Àlex Collado from U19A, Jaume Aghayedo from U10A and Joan Rojas from U19B.

Barça signs deal with healthcare and academic organizations to promote sports medicine | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona and a trio of prestigious institutions in the city of Barcelona have joined forces to foment education and research in the fields of medicine, exercise, and sports, the Club announced on Tuesday. Barça, thus, will be working along with the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, and the Universitat de Barcelona, to promote initiatives relating to education, training, and research in those fields.