Denis, Mathieu and Aleix excluded from Bilbao trip
The French defender was given the medical all-clear this morning. Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar make the 18-man list for tomorrow's game against Athletic Club.
This morning, In a departure from their usual practice, 24 hours ahead of their Copa del Rey tie against Athletic Club, Barcelona announced their squad for the game. The team will set off for Bilbao at 9:15am on Thursday. Mathieu, Denis Suárez and Aleix Vidal have been omitted from Luis Enrique's list - as has injured goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. Mathieu was given the medical all-clear this morning but will stay at home for the game.
The list reads: Ter Stegen, Masip, Piqué, Rakitic, Busquets, Arda, Iniesta, Messi, Suárez, Neymar, Rafinha, Mascherano, Paco Alcácer, Jordi Alba, Digne, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes and Umtiti.
The big news for Barça is that Neymar, Messi and Luis Suárez have completed the three training sessions since the team's return from the Christmas holidays and all three will make the trip. It remains to be seen whether all three will be fielded from the start against Athletic. Messi and Suárez are practically guaranteed to enter the XI but Neymar's place could go to Arda Turan. Ter Stegen has the edge over Masip to start but as always, Luis Enrique was giving absolutely nothing away in his pre-match presser.
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