Barcelona squad announced for Athletic Bilbao: Fans delighted with one inclusion, absences explained

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Barcelona take on Athletic Bilbao on Sunday afternoon, and Ernesto Valverde’s squad for the encounter has been announced by the club.

The Catalan giants remain top of the pile in La Liga with an eight-point lead over nearest rivals Atletico Madrid with just 10 games remaining in the campaign.

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Coupled with their Copa del Rey final date and having advanced to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, it’s been a good season to this point for Valverde and his men.

They’ll be looking to keep that going this weekend as they remain unbeaten in the league this year and have won three of their last four games in all competitions.

As seen below, there were some noticeable absentees from the squad to face Bilbao, with Luis Suarez and Thomas Vermaelen not included due to suspension and injury respectively.

However, there was one inclusion in the squad that made many fans happy, and that was starlet Carles Alena getting the nod with the 20-year-old hoping to get his first La Liga run out of the campaign having made three appearances in the Copa del Rey previously this season.

It comes amid reports that Lionel Messi wants the talented youngster to be considered as a long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta moving forward, as noted by Don Balon, and so it remains to be seen whether or not he gets a chance to impress this weekend.

Judging from the comments left below, many supporters were delighted to see him called up, and are hopeful that they will see him get some playing time.

More Stories Carles Alena Luis Suarez Thomas Vermaelen