(Reuters) – Barcelona forward Ansu Fati will return to the squad for Sunday’s LaLiga game at home with Mallorca, after being out for more than three months due to a hamstring injury, head coach Xavi Hernandez said.
Fati has not played for Barcelona since coming on as a substitute in their Copa del Rey quarter-final defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Jan. 20, his tenth appearance this season.
“We are going to get the squad list tomorrow (Sunday) but Ansu is going to be in it. We have seen great things with him, he is feeling well and got a good sensation,” Xavi said.
“Over the last two weeks, we have seen great improvement. If everything goes well, he is going to play some minutes. He’s happy, he’s smiling, and he’s a player who can make a difference.
“It’s a shame we haven’t been able to use him all these months … I’m happy to have him back. He’s a special player and he’s going to be good for us in these final five games.”
The 19-year-old Fati, who came through the youth system at the Catalan club, has also had to fight his way back from multiple surgeries to repair a November 2020 injury to his left knee.
Barcelona are already without Pedri (thigh), Nico Gonzalez (toe fracture), Ousmane Dembele (tonsillitis), Sergino Dest (hamstring), Sergi Roberto (muscle), Samuel Umtiti (foot) and Martin Braithwaite (COVID-19) for Sunday’s game.
With the league title already sealed by Real Madrid, Barcelona are looking to finish second and secure Champions League qualification. They are currently third on 63 points, one point behind second-placed Sevilla who have played a game more.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue)