Barcelona: Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta is available to play against Real Madrid in the first ‘Clasico’ of the season on Saturday at the Nou Camp, coach Luis Enrique said on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old midfielder damaged knee ligaments last month and returned to training on Friday. “Andres is waiting to be given the all clear by the doctors but this is just a formality. He is fit and he has been training with us,” Luis Enrique told a news conference.
“He is available for selection.” The Spain international missed Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad, a result that left Barca six points adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid, who are unbeaten in 31 games in all competitions.
Iniesta will not travel to Alicante for Barca’s King’s Cup round of 32 first-leg match against Hercules on Wednesday. “Andres is not playing tomorrow because he is banned but had he been available, he would have had minutes,” Luis Enrique said.
Sunday’s result in San Sebastian was Barca’s second successive draw in La Liga.
“It’s obvious that we need to improve, that we need more consistent but I don’t see any signs to worry me too much,” Luis Enrique said.
“The team is well and we got a point at La Real. We are still favourites to win all the titles but it’s clear that we have to improve.
“We, the players and I, are aware of that and are the first to admit that. We’ve had good games but we’ve lacked consistency as the results show. But I wouldn’t exaggerate.
“Remember that in my first year (2014-15) the press also exaggerated with our results and we went on to win the treble [La Liga, King’s Cup and the Champions League].”