Andres Iniesta has taken a step towards recovery from a hamstring injury by taking part in some light training on Wednesday morning (11 October) but it is still uncertain whether the Barcelona captain will be fully fit to face Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
The 33-year-old midfielder withdrew from the Spanish squad ahead of the final two World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Israel after suffering a hamstring injury during the win over Las Palmas on 1 October.
Barcelona then suggested that the captain could recover in time for the trip to Atletico Madrid on 14 October after scans ruled him out for only 10 days.
"Tests carried out show that the player Andres Iniesta has a hamstring strain in his left leg and he is expected to be out for about around 10 days," Barcelona then confirmed.
But his availability for the trip to the New Wanda Metropolitano looks now under question as the captain was still unable to complete a full training session with the rest of his available teammates on Wednesday.
"Andrés Iniesta, who recently signed a new lifetime contract, also put in an appearance at the Ciutat Esportiva, where it was cloudy but warm enough at 23ºC. The first team captain is still recovering from a muscle injury sustained against Las Palmas and performed specific exercises separately from the main group," the club confirmed while adding a video of the captain during the workout.
Iniesta will still have two more sessions to prove his fitness before the clash with Atletico but Ernesto Valverde may opt to use other alternative such as Sergi Roberto or Paulinho to form his midfield if the captain is not 100% fit.
Meanwhile, the Barcelona boss received a triple boost during Wednesday's workout with Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba returning following their respective international commitments. Buquests trained away from the group after playing the full 90 minutes of Spain's 1-0 victory over Israel on Monday night.
"Ivan Rakitic, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets were all at training on Wednesday morning, joining Gerard Piqué and Marc Andre Ter Stegen, who were both back the day before. All have secured passage to the finals in Russia next year apart from Rakitic, whose Croatia picked up a huge win in Kiev to grab a second chance in November's playoffs," Barcelona confirmed.
"Busquets worked out in isolation while the remainder of the first team squad were joined by Barça B's Morer, Santi Bueno and Moisés, as well as U19 goalkeeper Iñaki Peña."
Meanwhile, Valverde will be hoping Lionel Messi can return after the Argentinia forward helped his side book a place in the 2018 World Cup by scoring a hat-trick in the 3-1 victory over Ecuador.