FC Barcelona to face Valencia in Copa del Rey semi-finals

Barça and Valencia will battle for a place in the Copa del Rey Final
The first leg will be next week at the Camp Nou and the return at the Mestalla will played a week after

FC Barcelona will be facing Valencia in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey after the draw was held at midday Friday at the headquarters of the Spanish Federation (RFEF).

After defeating Villanovense, Espanyol and Athletic Club in the previous rounds, Gary Neville’s side now stands between the Catalans and a third successive appearance in the grand final.

The first leg will be at the Camp Nou next Wednesday or Thursday, and one week later, the sides will meet again at Mestalla to decide who’ll be going to the final, where the winner of the other semi between Sevilla and Celta awaits.

Barcelona are looking to extend their record of 27 titles, while Valencia have won the Spanish Cup seven times, the last time in 2008 when they beat Getafe 3-1 in the final.

The last meeting between the sides was at Mestalla in La Liga early last December. The game ended 1-1, Luis Suarez scoring for FCB after 59 minutes but Santi Mina grabbing an equaliser for the home side four minutes from the end.

LIVE – Luis Enrique press conference ahead of FC Barcelona v Atlético

Luis Enrique
The Barça manager appears before the media at the Ciutat Esportiva to talk about Saturday’s League match which kicks off at 4.00pm CET

Beginning at 12.30pm CET, follow the press conference LIVE as FC Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique fields questions from the media the day before his team is set to face Atlético de Madrid.

Final session before Atlético Madrid

Leo Messi during a training session / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
FC Barcelona squad trains on Friday for Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash between the last two Liga champions

On a chilly and overcast Friday morning, FC Barcelona worked out for the last time before the big game against Atlético Madrid at the Camp Nou on Saturday at 4.00pm CET. 16 hores). Luis Enrique gathered his players at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper to make the final preparations for the match between the sides that are currently joint top of La Liga, although Barça have the advantage of a game in hand at Sporting Gijón.

Once the session was over, the players’ attention switched to the draw for the Copa del Rey semi-finals, which is taking place in Madrid at 12.30pm CET. After seeing off Athletic Bilbao midweek, Barcelona is one of the four teams involved, the others being Celta, Sevilla and Valencia.

There will be photos and a video of the session coming up shortly – so watch this space!

Neymar believes Atlético clash is like a final

Neymar Jr and Luis Suárez celebrate goal in recent Copa del Rey match against Athletic / VICTOR SALGADO - FCB
The Brazilian forward and strike-partner Luis Suárez are well aware of the strength of Saturday’s opponents

FC Barcelona take on Atlético Madrid in a top of the table clash on Saturday (4pm CET) and Neymar Jr is well aware of the threat Diego Simeone’s side pose.

As both sides sit joint-top of the table, outright leadership in La Liga is at stake, which is why the Brazilian superstar believes that “the match against Atlético is like a final”.

Although he has been scoring for fun this season, La Liga’s top marksman Luis Suárez acknowledges the visitors’ defence which is the best in the division with just eight goals conceded.

“Atlético are solid defensively, and they are also strong in attack,” said the Uruguayan, before adding that “the second round of the season has just started and so we will try to increase our advantage”.

Arda Turan shares his thoughts on 'special' game against Atlético

Arda Turan shared his thoughts with Barça TV / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
The Turkish midfielder is set to take on his former teammates at the Camp Nou on Saturday

FC Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan is set to take on his former club Atlético Madrid on Saturday (4.00pm CET) when the two sides go head-to-head at Camp Nou, and so the Turkish star spoke to Barça TV about his feelings going into the match.

“It will be a special game, unique. I believe that both before and after the game I will be nervous,” said the summer arrival, who also turns 29 years old on the day of the match.

Arda warned that “it is always difficult” to play against a highly combative Atlético side but says that Barça “will do everything to get the three points”.

The midfielder, who became a fan favourite at the Vicente Calderon, has played six games for the Catalans and is grateful to his colleagues for helping him settle into the team.

“My teammates have made me feel part of the group and I feel great both mentally and physically.”