Undefeated La Liga leaders Barcelona will be boosted by the return of captain Andres Iniesta for Saturday night's (4 November) clash with Sevilla, the club have confirmed.
Iniesta, who recently signed a lifetime contract with the Blaugrana that will keep him in Catalonia for the remainder of his illustrious career, scored in the 2-0 victory over Malaga on 21 October and was rested for the Copa del Rey round of 32 first-leg meeting with Murcia before sustaining a thigh muscle injury in training before the trip to Athletic Club Bilbao.
In addition to missing that win at San Mames, the 33-year-old played no part in the goalless Champions League draw away to Olympiacos and was initially considered as a potential doubt to face Sevilla at the Nou Camp despite returning to training this week.
However, Iniesta was named in the Spain squad for upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and Russia and Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said on Friday that he was "optimistic" that the veteran midfielder could make his return this weekend.
"Players who are not to fit to play with their clubs before the international break normally travel to join up with the national team with a medical report," he told reporters at his pre-match press conference. "Anyway, we are optimistic that he can play with us and that he can be available.
"[Spain coach Julen] Lopetegui has a lot of confidence in Andres. He is optimistic like us and has included him in his squad. Yesterday [on Thursday] he trained with us, he did not complete the session and is yet to receive the medical clearance. We have to wait for the last training session to see if he makes the squad."
Barcelona subsequently revealed via their official website that Iniesta had trained with the squad as normal on Friday evening and was included in the 18-man group for that match against fifth-place Sevilla, who are without Argentine defender Gabriel Mercado due to a hamstring injury.
Ousmane Dembele, Rafinha, Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan all remain unavailable to Valverde, while Sergi Roberto and Andre Gomes sustained hamstring and thigh injuries in Athens that are expected to keep the midfield duo out for around five weeks and three to four weeks respectively.
Barcelona's 18-man squad to face Sevilla
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jasper Cillessen, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Denis Suarez, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Paulinho, Gerard Deulofeu, Paco Alcacer, Jordi Alba, Lucas Digne, Samuel Umtiti, Thomas Vermaelen