Barcelona handed double boost ahead of Real Betis clash

Spanish champions Barcelona have, on Thursday, been afforded a timely pair of boosts on the personnel front.

Xavi Hernandez’s troops, of course, are set to mark their return to action this weekend.

As the La Liga campaign kicks back into gear on the back of the international break, Barca will welcome Real Betis to the Camp Nou, on Saturday evening.

In the build-up to the clash, the Blaugrana brass have been forced to sweat over the wellbeing of a number of players, owing to issues picked up whilst away with their respective nations.

In turn, it will no doubt come as a source of relief for all associated with the Catalans to hear that, on Thursday, two key members of Xavi’s squad marked their return to training.

First up comes Ilkay Gundogan, who was viewed as a doubt to face Betis after limping out of Germany’s friendly meeting with France on Tuesday.

As showcased below, though, the summer arrival at the Camp Nou was back amongst the first-team group this afternoon, sparking hope that he will be available to feature from the off in 48 hours’ time:

And joining Gundogan back on the training pitch was Raphinha.

Wide-man Raphinha sparked concern in Barcelona on Wednesday, after word was forthcoming that the Brazilian international was absent from training after seeing his travel plans interrupted at the last minute.

Had his return to base been delayed as late as tomorrow, then the 26-year-old’s readiness for the weekend would, for obvious reasons, have been thrown up in the air.

Raphinha, though, was too pictured back in the thick of things at Barca’s training base today, therefore expected to be at the disposal of Xavi against Betis.

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Conor Laird

Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.

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