Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has been given an injury boost ahead of the last part of the season, after long-term absentee Jeremy Mathieu returned to training sessions on Wednesday morning (27 April) as the Catalans began preparations for Saturday's (30 April) trip to Real Betis. The French international defender, nevertheless, may still need more time to be 100% match fit, as he is yet to play since having a knee operation earlier on in March.
The 32-year-old centre-back suffered a torn medial meniscus whilst on international duty on 29 March. Consequently, he underwent a knee operation two days later, with the club setting his expected return to the squad as between six and eight weeks.
Yet, Mathieu himself then expressed his hopes to shorten the recovery to just four weeks, with the hopes to help Barcelona in the last part of the season, while also increasing his chances to make the Euro 2016, which are due to be played in his homeland in the summer.
The former Valencia defender looks to be in the running to return, soon after he appeared in the video released by Barcelona during Wednesday's workout, even taking part with the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
Barcelona were doing their first workout of the week to prepare for their forthcoming weekend trip to Betis, after Luis Enrique handed his players two days off following their 6-0 victory over Sporting Gijon.
"The FC Barcelona first team got back to work on Wednesday morning after two days of rest. In surprisingly chilly temperatures for this time of year, around 15º, all of the available players took to the training ground at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, where Luis Enrique also called on the services of three members of the Barça B squad: Borja López, Rafa MujicaandJuan Cámara," the club confirmed.
The Catalan club are at the top of the La Liga table, thanks to the goal difference over Atletico Madrid and remaining one point above Real Madrid on the table, with just three games remaining. They will host Espanyol the following week, before travelling to Granada for their last away game of the season. Furthermore, they will have the chance to revisit the Copa del Rey with a final, against Sevilla, on 22 May.