Athletic Bilbao will host FC Barcelona at San Mamés on Thursday in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
In the United States, the match (3 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on TV anywhere, but anyone in the US can watch every Copa del Rey match live on ESPN+:
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ESPN+ is the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of the Copa del Rey, plus other international soccer (including the FA Cup and Carabao Cup), other live sports every day, all the 30-for-30 documentaries, and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
Or, if you also want the new Disney+ streaming service and Hulu, you can get all three for $12.99 per month, which works out to 25 percent savings:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can then watch Bilbao vs Barcelona live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
Bilbao vs Barcelona Preview
Barcelona’s season experienced yet more turmoil on Tuesday, when captain Lionel Messi fired back at sporting director Eric Abidal over comments Abidal made regarding the Jan. 13 sacking of manager Ernesto Valverde.
“Many players weren’t satisfied or working a lot and there was also an internal communication problem,” Abidal said in a recent interview with Sport. “The relationship between the coach and the dressing room has always been good but there are things as an ex-player that I could smell. I told the club what I thought and we reached a decision.”
Messi responded in a since-deleted Instagram post.
“When things don’t go well on the pitch, the players are the first ones to recognise as much,” he wrote, according to ESPN. “Those in the sporting department at the club should also take responsibility for their actions and decisions.
“Finally, I think that when you speak about players, you should have to give names. If you don’t, you’re dirtying everyone’s name and encouraging things which are said which are not true.”
Barcelona replaced Valverde with Quique Setién, who’s led the side to a 4-0-1 mark across all competitions.
“These things don’t affect me,” the 61-year-old coach said, per ESPN. “I try to make sure they don’t affect my players, either.
“We spoke about it for one minute earlier but that was all. What interests me is football. At any club of this size, there are problems, but they are not things I can control.”
The Blaugrana trail Real Madrid by three points for the top spot in La Liga. They reached the Copa del Rey quarter-finals by blasting top-flight side Leganés 5-0 in the round of 16.
Three days later, Barcelona edged Levante 2-1 in league play behind a pair of first-half goals from 17-year-old forward Ansu Fati.
“You have to understand that you have to give him peace of mind and confidence to exploit what he has inside,” Setién said of Fati, according to Goal.
“Apart from the two goals, what I give credit is the work he has done in defence. He has worked hard. He has given us solutions.”
Athletic Bilbao sit in ninth place on La Liga’s table, with 31 points through 22 matches. They required penalties to advance through each of the last two rounds of the Copa del Rey.
“Having San Mamés behind us is very important, it is an extra for Athletic,” Athletic manager Gaizka Garitano said, according to the club’s official website. “San Mamés factor adds up to a lot and the fact that the qualifying round will be a single game and at home will help us more. But then on the field it’s the team that has to get the fans on board, not the other way around.”
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