Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele both took part in full Barcelona training on Saturday ahead of the club’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Napoli in a week’s time.
The French duo are currently working their way back to full fitness after injury, and the news will be a boost to the Catalan giants ahead of what is a crucial match.
Griezmann has been out since picking up a quadriceps problem in Barcelona’s win over Real Valladolid in July, while Dembele underwent surgery on a torn hamstring in February.
Barcelona offered the following update in a statement on their official website:
“On Saturday the squad returned to training after a rest day on Friday with all the available players taking part on the Tito Vilanova field at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.
“The good news was that Frenchmen Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann completed part of the session with the rest of their team mates. Furthermore, Clément Lenglet completed the entire session with the rest of the squad.”
The players are due to train again on Sunday as they prepare for the visit of Serie A side Napoli on August 8. The tie is level at 1-1 after the first leg in Italy, and the winners will progress to a quarter-final against Bayern Munich or Chelsea.
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Doubts Still Over Dembele
Dembele’s appearance on Saturday will be seen as a positive step, although there are still plenty of doubts over whether the Frenchman will be involved again for Barcelona between now and the end of the season.
Javi Miguel at AS has reported Barcelona have had to reduce his workload this week because he was not feeling good and feels it will be “very difficult” for him to play again this season.
Yet Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden at ESPN have reported manager Quique Setien is hopeful he will be available if Barcelona make it through the final eight tournament in Brazil, while the club have teased supporters with glimpses of his progress on social media.
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It seems unlikely that Dembele will face Napoli next Saturday, but there does seem to be optimism he could be fit enough to take a place on the bench if the Catalan giants make it through.
Lenglet and Griezmann to Be Fit?
Barcelona’s confirmation that Clement Lenglet took part in the whole session suggests the French defender will be fit for the match. Setien will be desperate to have the 25-year-old back as Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo are both injured.
Lenglet has been a regular in defence alongside Gerard Pique, and his absence would leave Barcelona short of defensive options. They are already without midfielders Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal for the match due to suspension.
Setien will also be hopeful Griezmann returns. The Frenchman has started six of Barca’s seven Champions League matches in 2019-20, scoring the crucial away goal at Napoli in the first leg.