Barcelona back-up goalie Jasper Cillessen is set to give manager Luis Enrique a welcome selection dilemma after being declared fit for the second leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 match against Athletic Club Bilbao on Wednesday night (11 January). The Dutchman and Ivan Rakitc have returned to the 18-man squad to face the Basque side, but Andre Gomes, Rafinha, Jeremy Mathieu, Aleix Vidal and Jordi Masip will miss the game for technical reasons.
Cillessen was expected to be Barcelona's starting custodian in the Copa del Rey this season after he moved to the Nou Camp in the summer, filling the gap left by the departure of Claudio Bravo to Manchester City.
The Dutchman was between the sticks in the previous round against Hercules, but missed last week's 2-1 defeat to Athletic after picking up a muscular injury during the Christmas break.
However, the former Ajax keeper returned to training earlier this week and the club have now confirmed he is available for the second leg.
"For this game, the Asturian coach has Cillessen available after the keeper recovered from injury," Barcelona confirmed through their official website.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who is the first choice in La Liga and the Champions League, replaced Cillessen's in the reverse fixture but Luis Enrique will now need to decide whether to recall Cillessen for the crucial second leg. Barcelona host the Basque side in need for a victory to keep alive their hopes to regaining the Copa del Rey title after being defeated by Athletic at San Mames.
Luis Enrique will be able to field his strongest line-up to turn around the tie as he has a fully fit squad to select. Accordingly, he has been forced to leave Gomes, Rafinha, Mathieu, Vidal and Masip out of his squad to recall Rakitic after the Croatian was controversially rested in the weekend draw with Villarreal.
"With the Dutch keeper's return to full fitness the Barça manager had a full squad to choose from and has decided to leave Masip, Rafinha, Aleix Vidal and Mathieu out of the matchday squad. This hadn't happened since the fourth fixture of the campaign when Los Blaugranas played Leganés. Finally, Rakitic comes back in after being rested against Villarreal."