Barcelona right-back Aleix Vidal made a surprising return to training on Wednesday morning (24 May) as Luis Enrique's side began preparations for the Copa del Rey final against Alaves. However, his availability for the Saturday's encounter is still in question, as the Spaniard has yet to play a game since suffering a serious ankle injury in February.
Vidal barely featured during the opening part of the campaign after falling out favour with Luis Enrique. The 27-year-old wing-back managed to work his way back into consideration at the start of 2017, but he suffered a significant setback when dislocating his ankle during a 6-0 victory over Alaves on 11 February.
The former Sevilla wing-back was thus forced to go under the knife, with Barcelona ruling him out of contention for five months.
However, Vidal has since made impressive progress and on Wednesday morning returned to the training sessions alongside the rest of his available teammates – just three and a half after the operation.
"Full-back Aleix Vidal returned to training for the first time since injuring his ankle in a league match against Alaves back in February, " Barcelona have confirmed via its club website.
Vidal will still need to gain some match fitness before playing a full game for Barcelona. However, sources in Spain suggest his presence in the Copa del Rey final squad is not completely ruled out due to the lack of alternatives Luis Enrique has at his disposal to face Alaves.
The manager has no other specialist right-back available for the final as Sergi Roberto will miss the game through suspension.
Versatile Javier Mascherano seems the more obvious choice to fill the gap but he is still a doubt for the Copa del Rey final after missing games against Las Palmas and Eibar due to a thigh injury.
Meanwhile, Gerard Pique has also been unavailable in those two games through illness, but has been training since last week and should be able to lead the back-line against Alaves.
Long-term casualties Jeremy Mathieu and Rafinha Alcantara are expected to stay in the treatment room when Barcelona visit the Vicente Calderon for the last game of the campaign.