Barcelona receive boost as key forward is back in training after World Cup
We are less than a week away before Barcelona restart their campaign with a home game against local rivals Espanyol.
Heading into this game, Xavi Hernandez had recovered almost all of his squad members, barring French duo Jules Kounde and Ousmane Dembele. The two were given extended vacations after they reached the final of the FIFA World Cup.
However, according to Javi Miguel, Barcelona have received an early boost as Ousmane Dembele has cut his vacation short and returned to the training camp on Monday.
The forward, along with his compatriot Kounde, were expected to join the Barcelona camp on Wednesday, three days before the derby. But Dembele joining the camp early could serve as a major boost for coach Xavi, who is hoping to have a full-strength squad available against Espanyol.
While Dembele has joined earlier than expected, Kounde will fulfil his stipulated vacation and return to the camp on Wednesday. There are doubts over whether or not the Frenchman will be able to participate against Espanyol, as he may have only one group session, which will be held on Friday.
The same can be said for Dembele as well, but since the forward has decided to come in early, he might be in a position to take part in more group sessions.
Xavi, who has reportedly added a new two-hour training scheme to get his troops tactically and physically up and running after the World Cup, has great hopes for Dembele during the second half of the campaign.
The French international himself is determined to help Barcelona win titles after Les Bleus suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the World Cup final.
Xavi will also ideally like to have Kounde available for the game. But it remains to be seen whether or not the young defender can make it back for the weekend’s derby.