One month after getting injured at the Santiago Bernabéu, the midfielder is all set to return to action.
Andres Iniesta was declared fully fit yesterday 35 days after going down with a soleus injury in the game against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. The midfielder was among the the players that trained normally and will be part of the Barcelona team heading for Valencia on Sunday morning for their 13th league game of this season.
Luis Enrique spoke to the reporters ahead of the clash against Valencia.”We always miss injured players, but our rule is just to talk about the players we do have and not the ones that are out. After a muscle injury we always have to be cautious and get him back into the right rhythm for playing.”
It was confirmed this week that Barcelona’s summer signing Thomas Vermalen, who is yet to make his debut for the club, will be out for up to six months needing an operation on the injury but Luis Enrique downplayed the peculiarity of the situation.”Injuries happen in professional football. But time flies and we’ll have him playing for us soon enough. But I don’t think we have any intention of signing any new players in the winter transfer window. We think this is the best solution for him, he’s doing very well, we need to support him and he’ll be back with us soon.”
Another summer signing who has had a difficult start to his new journey with Barcelona is the German goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. He has been kept out of the first team in La Liga due to some excellent displays from fellow new arrival Claudio Bravo. However, Enrique hinted that there will be rotation between the three goalkeepers (Jordi Masip included) for the remainder of the season and he has enough confidence in all three of his shot-stoppers. “We could see Ter Stegen playing La Liga and Bravo the Champions League, or Jordi in La Liga – we can see any of them in any competition,” the coach continued.”From the beginning of the season I talked about my confidence in the three goalkeepers. We could use another goalkeeper in the third phase of the Champions League.”
Enrique finally had words of praise for his opponents tonight and felt the game against Valencia will be a major test for his side.”They are on a different level compared to other seasons” he observed.”And they’re very strong in their stadium. They have made good new signings in all areas, like Negredo, and young players like Alcácer and Gayà have been confirmed.If you’re scared of losing, you don’t leave the house … Winning at Mestalla would be a huge boost on top of the good sensations of the last few weeks.”
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Claudio Bravo(GK); Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquetes; Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Neymar