Barca meet Athletic in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night
Xavi said: "[Athletic] have one of the best coaches in recent years.
"They are a very intense, very aggressive opponent. They demand a lot, especially at home. They play very well on the counter-attack. They work very well.
"It's a one-off game and this makes it very attractive. Going far in this competition makes us feel excited.
"I have the best memories from [San Mames]. They have treated me very well. I have a fantastic relationship with the club and with many players from that club.
"I have admiration for that club, I think they do things very well and they have a clear [understanding] about what they do. There is always a phenomenal atmosphere there."
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