FC Barcelona's Neymar, from Brazil, left, duels for the ball with Athletic Bilbao's Ander Iturraspe during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

BILBAO, Spain (AP) — Athletic Bilbao has a long-standing tradition of only fielding players with Basque connections, a policy that has sometimes worked to its advantage but more often made it hard to progress at Europe’s top level.

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