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Xavi Hernandez confirms Ter Stegen and Raphinha’s return to aid Barcelona

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1707577221 11 Xavi Hernandez

Xavi Hernandez, the coach of Barcelona, announced on Saturday that goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and winger Raphinha are back from injury and are ready to support the team in their struggling title defense.

The team currently sits in third place in La Liga, trailing the leaders Real Madrid by eight points, and with Real Madrid set to face second-place Girona on Saturday.

Barcelona will be hosting Granada on Sunday, providing them with an opportunity to narrow the gap with at least one of the top two teams.

Ter Stegen has been sidelined since November due to a back injury, during which Inaki Pena has been deputizing for him in goal.

During this period, Barcelona suffered heavy defeats against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final and were also eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao.

Xavi commented, “(Ter Stegen) is a pivotal player for us, a captain and a leader within the squad. I’m very pleased with Inaki, he has proven himself as a reliable goalkeeper, but I’m very happy for Marc – he is essential for us and the team.”

Xavi also confirmed Raphinha’s readiness to play after recovering from a hamstring injury that kept him out for several weeks.

“Rapha will be available tomorrow, he has recuperated well,” stated Xavi. “We have observed him during training, and he is displaying the same form as before his injury.”

Xavi sees the upcoming clash between Madrid and Girona as an opportunity for his team to maintain pressure in the title race.

“What we need to do is win tomorrow, especially knowing that one or both of them will drop points,” expressed the coach.

AFP

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