Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta has been given the green light to make his long-awaited return to action when Real Madrid visit on Saturday (3 December). This is the latest injury boost for the Catalans ahead of El Clasico, after Samuel Umtiti came back in the midweek Copa del Rey encounter against Hercules while Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique returned to training on Thursday.
Iniesta suffered an injury in the lateral collateral ligament of his right knee during the 3-2 victory over Valencia on 22 October, subsequently being ruled out for between six and eight weeks.
However, the captain has made a major effort to return sooner, in a bid to be ready for the first El Clasico of the season.
Speaking ahead of the Hercules game, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique revealed Iniesta was back to full fitness, and was just waiting to receive medical clearance from the doctors to face Real Madrid.
"He will not play tomorrow [against Hercules] as he is suspended, otherwise he would have had some game time," the Barcelona boss said in a press conference. "He is fully fit and we are just waiting for him to be given the all-clear by the club's doctors."
And now, barely 24 hours before the big game, Barcelona have confirmed the good news through an official statement.
"FC Barcelona have received a welcome boost ahead of El Clásico with the news that club captain Andrés Iniesta has received the all-clear from the medical staff," the club said. "The influential midfielder has been out for over 40 days since picking up an injury at Mestalla but is now at the disposal of Luis Enrique for the match against Real Madrid."
The captain is expected to return straight to the line-up, forming the midfield alongside Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets.
During the week Luis Enrique also received some positive news regarding his defence.
Firstly, Umtiti made his return from a three-week spells on the sidelines in the Copa del Rey encounter with Hercules, gaining match fitness in order to be available to face Real Madrid should Luis Enrique opt to give him a role in his backline.
Meanwhile, Pique and Alba returned to training on Thursday, after both suffering knocks during the weekend draw at Real Sociedad.
Luis Enrique has confirmed that the two defenders "are available" to face Real Madrid and both are expected to start in a bid to stop Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Mathieu is ruled out for El Clasico after Barcelona revealed he had suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf injury.