Barcelona have been boosted by the return of some of their biggest players ahead of one of the biggest games of their season, the El Clasico
Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta has been out since late October with a knee injury, and the 32-year-old is set to make his comeback at the grandest stage of them all. Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has confirmed ahead of their home meeting against Real Madrid that Iniesta is back.
“The biggest news is that we’re getting [Andrés] Iniesta back, which has extra importance since he’s our captain. If there’s one player who helps most with our style, it’s him,” said Enrique, according to the official club website.
“I will be looking at several different options as far as our starting XI is concerned.”
The injury news is mostly all positive for Barcelona, with French defender Samuel Umtiti returning to action in their Copa del Rey match against Hercules in mid-week. Spanish Left-back Jordi Alba also took part in training before the game, but is a doubt because of ankle and knee problems.
The only player who will definitely not be playing in El Clasico is French defender Jeremy Mathieu, who has been out since late October with a calf injury.
Barcelona will look at their much vaunted attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar to fire them ahead against Real Madrid. The return of Andres Iniesta to midfield will definitely have a positive effect on the forward three. Spaniard Sergio Busquets and Croatian Ivan Rakitic are the ones most likely to start alongside Iniesta in midfield.
In defence, Alba will play at left-back if he is fit. In case the Spaniard doesn’t make it, then Barcelona have a good replacement in French full-back Lucas Digne. Despite the return of Umtiti, Enrique would prefer to field the experienced center-half duo of Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique.
Right-back is a position that has been giving the Blaugrana some skull splitting headaches this season. They are yet to find a suitable replacement for Dani Alves, and they will once again have to rely on makeshift defender Sergi Roberto to play at right-back.
German keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will start in goal ahead of Dutchman Jasper Cillessen.