Barcelona have offered a glimpse of Ousmane Dembele back in action after the Frenchman returning to training with the squad on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old has been sidelined since February after needing surgery on a torn hamstring but joined his team-mates on the training pitch for some “individual exercises,” according to the club.
Barcelona showed off some of Dembele’s session on social media as the forward closes in on a long-awaited return to first-team action:
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 28, 2020
Dembele has only played nine times for Barcelona in 2019-20 because of injury and has not featured for the Catalans since their 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League back in November 2019.
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Will Dembele Be Fit for Napoli?
The Frenchman’s presence in training will raise hopes that he will be fit in time to face Napoli when the Champions League resumes in August 8. The last-16 tie between the two sides is level at 1-1 after the first leg in Italy.
Sport are reporting that Dembele “could be Quique Setien’s secret weapon” for the European tie. The Catalan daily is optimistic that the forward could be fit in time for the crunch match at the Camp Nou.
Yet other outlets are more cautious about Dembele. Ben Hayward at the Evening Standard thinks Barca will err on the side of caution when it comes to handling Dembele’s long-awaited comeback.
“Dembele is registered for the Champions League, but Barcelona are not prepared to take any risks with a player who has been sidelined for a total of eight months and he looks unlikely to play any part against Napoli on August 8.”
If Barcelona do beat Napoli they will progress to a final eight tournament in Lisbon to decide this season’s European champions. Quique Setien’s side are likely to face German giants Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
Barcelona Continue UCL Preparations
There will be plenty of focus on Barcelona’s training ground this week as they step up their preparations for the Champions League. Antoine Griezmann and Clement Lenglet were also back in action on Tuesday as they work to recover from injuries.
Barcelona have confirmed the club will have a double session on Wednesday, training in the morning and again in the evening at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.
The club would surely love to be able to have Dembele available for the Napoli clash but will know they can’t afford to rush his recovery and risk the Frenchman suffering yet another setback.