Neymar and Rafinha return to Barcelona training as La Liga giants prepare for Valencia

Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal
Neymar

Neymar, Rafinha Alcantara and Jeremy Mathieu could return to action when Barcelona host Valencia on Sunday (19 March) after completing Thursday's training session with the rest of their teammates. The news is a major boost for Luis Enrique after last weekend's defeat to Deportivo La Coruna saw Real Madrid overtake them at the top of La Liga.

Neymar and Rafinha played a decisive role in the historic 6-1 victory Champions League over Paris Saint-Germain last week. However, both Brazilians were left out of the squad to face Deportivo at theweekend, with Barcelona saying the former was suffering from pain in his left leg abductor while Rafinha had gastroenteritis.

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Meanwhile, Mathieu is yet to play a game for Barcelona since spraining the external ligaments in his left ankle during victory over Atletico Madrid on 26 February.

But the trio look ready to return against Valencia this weekend after appearing in the video released by the club of Thursday's training session.

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Lionel Messi was also present after the Argentine and the rest of his teammates were given a two-day break by Luis Enrique to be fresh for the crucial tie with Valencia.

"The FC Barcelona first team were back at work on Thursday morning after enjoying a thoroughly well-deserved two-day break," the club said. "With the batteries recharged, the next task is to concentrate on the home fixture against Valencia this Sunday at 8.45pm CET, where three points are essential in order to keep up the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid going into the international break, when most of the first team squad will be travelling to join their national teams for World Cup qualifiers."

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Following defeat to Deportivo, Barcelona cannot afford to drop more points as Real Madrid are currently top of La Liga, two points ahead of Luis Enrique's side with one game in hand.

This means that Barcelona could face Valencia five points behind if Real Madrid secure victory in Saturday's trip to Athletic Club Bilbao.

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