Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Marc-Andre ter Stegen missed the Thursday's training session. Getty


  • La Liga leaders return to training to continue preparations for the Sunday's visit of Deportivo la Coruna.
  • Catalans will host the Galician side before the first El Clasico of La Liga at Real Madrid on 23 December.

Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano, Ousmane Dembele and Rafinha Alcantara trained with the rest of their Barcelona teammates on Thursday morning (14 December) as the quartet prepare to return to action from their respective injuries.

However, Marc-Andre ter Stegen missed the workout with the La Liga leaders continuing the preparations for the final two games of the year against Deportivo la Coruna and Real Madrid.

Iniesta, 33, has missed the last two games due to a minor calf injury sustained during the 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo on 2 December.

However, on Wednesday [13 December] he revealed that was confident of being back in contention for the upcoming visit of Deportivo on Sunday [17 December].

"I feel good, more or less. It wasn't an injury more just discomfort. It was too early to play in the last game but I hope to be available for Sunday," Iniesta said. "We will return to training tomorrow and we will see the feelings [I have]. But today I am optimistic [to be available] for the weekend and for the following one [when Barcelona will visit Real Madrid]"

Iniesta's comments suggested that in the worst case he should be ready to return to action in the first El Clasico of La Liga.

Mascherano should also be back either against Depor or Real after having previously been ruled him out for four weeks due to a hamstring injury sustained on international duty with Argentina.

Dembele and Rafinha have also been training with the rest of their teammates but Ernesto Valverde has reiterated that he won't rush their returns with both players having been on the sidelines for a while.

The France starlet was expected to be out of action until next year after he suffered a serious hamstring injury which required surgery following the Catalans' 2-1 victory over Getafe on 16 September.

However, Valverde recently refused to rule him out of the El Clasico at Real with the winger said to be eager to make his long-awaited comeback against Barcelona's archenemy.

Rafinha also appeared in the video released by the club working with Lionel Messi and co but the two upcoming games might still come too early for the Brazilian, having been on the sidelines since last April due a serious knee injury.

Elsewhere Barcelona provided a surprising update from the session with Ter Stegen working alone.

"After two days of rest, the FC Barcelona first team were back at work on Thursday as they continued preparations for Sunday's 8.45pm CET kick-off against Deportivo at the Camp Nou . On a relatively mild morning for the time of year, the available members of the squad worked out under Ernesto Valverde's watchful eyes on the Tito Vilanova field, apart from goalkeeper Ter Stegen, who did specific strength-building exercises," the club confirmed.

Barcelona didn't reveal that reason behind the 'keeper's absence but Spanish publication Sport claims that it was as a precaution due to a minor fitness issue.

Ernesto Valverde will be hoping he returns in time for the visit of Deportivo with the stopper having been a key player in the Catalans' strong start to the season.