FC Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta will be available against Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season on Saturday, coach Luis Enrique said.
The 32-year-old midfielder damaged knee ligaments last month, but has returned to training last Friday. However, he will not travel to Alicante for Barca’s Copa Del Rey round of 32 first-leg match against Hercules.
“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.”
“Andres is not playing tomorrow because he is banned but had he been available, he would have had minutes,” Luis Enrique said.
FC Barcelona last drew 1-1 against Real Sociedad in San Sebastian. It had been Barca’s second successive draw in La Liga while also widening the gap between the Catalan club against Real Madrid on top of the table to six points. Enrique dismissed any such fears that his team is underperforming ahead of such an important fixture.
“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).”