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FC Barcelona start to prepare for Saturday’s match Athletic Club at San Mamés. After the Copa debut against Múrcia, which ended in a 3-0 blaugrana victory, Barça turn their attention to La Liga in which they are top of the table and don’t want to let up. Valverde welcomed his whole squad back for training on Thursday having given some of his players a rest from Copa del Rey duty. The session at the Tito Vilanova pitch at the Ciutat Esportiva saw the new winter yellow ball being used as is normal at this time of the year.

Visiting San Mamés is always difficult and the blaugranas have struggled to secure their positive results over the last three years. Moreover, the match will be an emotional return for Valverde as he heads home. The team will train on Friday afternoon in the final preparatory session before the match and Valverde will fulfil his pre-match media commitments.

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