Thomas Vermaelen returned to feature in a Barcelona training session on Friday (18 August) after missing the back-to-back defeats to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup due to a leg injury. However, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique didn't feature in the workout and remain doubtful for Sunday's (20 August) La Liga opener against Real Betis.

Vermaelen has been out of action since suffering a leg injury during a pre-season friendly with Gimnastic Tarragona on 4 August, missing the Joan Gamper Trophy against Chapecoense and the two legs of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid.

However, Barcelona have confirmed that the Belgium international was back in training on Friday morning as Ernesto Valverde's players continued the preparation for the first La Liga encounter of the new season against Betis.

New summer signing Paulinho also completed his first workout as a Blaugrana player after Valverde's side held a minute's silence to pay tribute to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Barcelona.

"FC Barcelona's first team's morning training session started with a minute's silence in memory of the victims of Thursday's terrorist attack in Barcelona," the club said in an official statement.

"Following this, Ernesto Valverde's squad trained on the Tito Vilanova pitch as they continue their preparations for the La Liga opener against Betis at 8.15pm CET on Sunday. The available first team players were joined by new FC Barcelona player Paulinho in his first session as a blaugrana. Vermaelen also joined the group following his recovery from injury."

Barcelona, however, failed to provide any update on the situation of two key players in Iniesta and Pique.

The club captain missed Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid due to a muscle injury and it is still uncertain whether he will be available when Betis visit the Nou Camp on Sunday. Meanwhile, Pique had to be replaced by Nelson Semedo early in the second half against Real Madrid after suffering a groin strain.

Meanwhile, long-term absentee Rafinha Alcantara and Luis Suarez are also ruled out for the game against Betis, with the Uruguay international expected to be out of for around four weeks due to a knee injury suffered in the Wednesday's defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Paco Alcacer is expected to take Suarez's place in attack while Andre Gomes could fill in for Iniesta in the middle of the park if the captain fails to recover in time to face Betis. Meanwhile, Javier Mascherano and Samuel Umtiti should form the heart of the back-line if Pique is out.

Vermaelen
Vermaelen missed the two defeats to Real Madrid due to a leg injury. Getty