Athletic Bilbao acknowledge tough job against Barcelona

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= INCLUDES WHITE FLASHES = SHOWS: BARCELONA,SPAIN (MAY 29, 2015) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ATHLETIC BILBAO COACH ERNESTO VALVERDE SAYING OF FACING BARCELONA’S LIONEL MESSI: “I

Athletic Bilbao acknowledge tough job against Barcelona

= INCLUDES WHITE FLASHES =

SHOWS: BARCELONA,SPAIN (MAY 29, 2015) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ATHLETIC BILBAO COACH ERNESTO VALVERDE SAYING OF FACING BARCELONA’S LIONEL MESSI:

“I honestly don’t know. He is a player that is very hard to stop when he is playing well, but we have to try. We know all the good things he can do. What can I say about Messi? We all know what he does, we have all seen what he does on the pitch”

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VALVERDE SAYING:

“He (Messi) is always there on the big occasions and he is not a player that goes unnoticed. All those things he is good at are those we have to try to reduce, if we can, of course. But we know we have a waiting list of people we would have to try and stop. We have to stop Neymar; we have to stop (Luis) Suarez. But it is a match and we have our options, so we have to try and go for it”

SHOWS: Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde said on Friday (May 29) that it will be very hard to stop Barcelona striker Lionel Messi when his players face the La Liga champions in the King’s Cup final on Saturday.

Asked at a news conference in Barcelona where the match will be played how Messi could be stopped, Valverde replied: “I honestly don’t know. He is a player that is very hard to stop when he is playing well, but we have to try. We know all the good things he can do. What can I say about Messi? We all know what he does, we have all seen what he does on the pitch.”

However, the 51-year-old coach said Messi is not the only challenge.

“He (Messi) is always there on the big occasions and he is not a player that goes unnoticed. All those things he is good at are those we have to try to reduce, if we can, of course. But we know we have a waiting list of people we would have to try and stop. We have to stop Neymar; we have to stop (Luis) Suarez. But it is a match and we have our options, so we have to try and go for it,” said Valverde.

Athletic Bilbao has a rich King’s Cup pedigree and this is the club’s third final in seven years, but the players will be looking for a change of fortune having lost both previous matches to Barca.

Barcelona have won their fifth La Liga title in seven years and are in the run for a potential treble with the KingĀ“s Cup final in sight this weekend and the final of the Champions League against Juventus on June 6 in Berlin.

Athletic finished the season well with seventh place in La Liga, giving them a Europa League spot and with the dangerous Aritz Aduriz in attack, they can cause Barca problems, especially in the air.

In the league, Bilbao put up a fight against Barca, although they lost both matches, including a 5-2 home defeat.

But the Catalan side has forward Suarez back after he picked up a hamstring injury in the Champions League semi-final clash away to Bayern Munich that saw him miss the last two league games.

The Uruguayan has been in lethal form over the final months of the season, combining instinctively with Messi and Neymar as Barca’s forward line has propelled the club towards repeating their 2009 treble triumph.

Tags : Barcelona, against, tough, Acknowledge, Bilbao, athletic

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