Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were the main absentees from the Barcelona training session on Thursday morning (30 April) as the La Liga giants continue preparations for the trip to Granada on Sunday [2 April]. Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal also failed to take part in the session due to injury but Luis Enrique welcomes back most of his international players ahead of a busy month which will include a trip to Real Madrid on 23 April and the Champions League quarter-final tie with Juventus.
As many as 15 Barcelona first-team players have been in various corners of the world representing their countries during the two-week international break, with two problems emerging from the clutch of fixtures for the Catalans.
Messi was given an international four-match ban for abusing a linesman during Argentina's 1-0 win over Chile while Turan suffered a groin injury with Turkey that is expected to keep him on the sidelines for around three weeks.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is also suspended for Barcelona's upcoming clash with Granada prior to the international fixtures having been booked during his side's 4-2 win over Valencia.
Yet, the Barcelona duo and long-term casualty Vidal are expected to be the only three absentees to face Granada this weekend as the club confirmed that Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Jordi Alba, Gerard Piqué, Samuel Umtiti, Jasper Cillesen and Andre Gomes have all returned to training.
Suarez and Neymar didn't train following their long international trips but the duo are already in Spain and should return to training on Friday [31 March] in order to be ready for another decisive encounter amid the battle for the title with Real.
"The FC Barcelona squad is slowly taking full form after the return of the Spanish internationals, plus Cillessen, UmtitiandAndré Gomes all returned to training on Thursday," the club confirmed. "Luis Enrique oversaw the session at Ciutat Esportiva as preparations for Sunday's game against Granada continue. The workout was also joined by Barça B players Carbonell, Cardona, Nili, KaptoumandAleñá."
Barcelona are currently sat in second position of La Liga table, two points behind Real – who still have one game in hand. Barca will have a chance to reduce the gap in the coming week as they face Granada, Sevilla and Malaga in a space of seven days. Zinedine Zidane's side meanwhile will host Alaves before two Madrid derbies against Leganes and Atletico Madrid.
You may be interested in: