Over the past couple of months, FC Barcelona have had to deal with a number of injury problems to key players that have affected their performances on the field.
Before the international break, though, the Blaugrana recovered most of the players out on the sidelines, with Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Roberto being the only two still on the list of casualties.
De Jong to return next week
Now, though, Mundo Deportivo is reporting that Barcelona could be poised to welcome Frenkie de Jong back in training next week.
The 26-year-old midfield mainstay has been out on the sidelines since late September when he picked up an ankle injury during the game against Celta Vigo.
Barça and De Jong contemplated the possibility of his return ahead of the first El Clasico of the season towards the end of the last month. But there was still some lingering discomfort, and the club opted to not take any risks.
But, all signs point towards the Netherlands international rejoining training next week.
Xavi held a training session on Thursday, during which De Jong was not involved. The manager has given the players a three-day off and when the sessions resume next week, the Dutchman is also expected to be back.
Return against Rayo Vallecano?
If it happens, De Jong could be in line to make his much-awaited return on the field when Barcelona face Rayo Vallecano in their first game after the break.
Xavi had already insisted in the press conference ahead of the Alaves game that the midfielder could return after the international break.
“Frenkie will be back against Rayo,” he had said.
De Jong’s absence has hurt Barcelona on the pitch and the hope is that his return will help the team improve on their recent performances and close down the gap to the top of the table.