Ansu Fati is closing in on a return to first-team action with Barcelona and is hoping to be back in time for the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao in Seville on April 17.
The 18-year-old has been out for four months after undergoing knee surgery in November but sources close to the forward have confirmed his goal is to make the cup final, according to Deportes Cuatro.
Fati is expected to start working with the ball again in two weeks and will then join in training sessions with his team-mates. However, his family have warned the talented youngster to be careful and “go easy” so as to avoid suffering another relapse.
Barca qualified for the Copa del Rey with a remarkable comeback win over Sevilla. Ronald Koeman’s side lost the first leg 2-0 but won the return 3-0 to go through 3-2 on aggregate and keep their cup dreams alive.
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Barca Faces Tough Copa del Rey Test
Barcelona’s clash with Athletic in the final of the Copa del Rey will be the fourth time the two teams have met in 2020-21. The Catalan giants have won both La Liga fixtures but were beaten by Athletic in the final of the Spanish Super Cup in January.
Ronald Koeman’s side came within a whisker of winning the Super Cup final before being denied in extra-time. Athletic made it 2-2 in the 90th minute to force extra-time and then won it with an Inaki Williams strike.
The game also made headlines as Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was shown red for the first time in his career with the Catalan giants. The Argentine was sent off after swinging an arm at Asier Villalibre.
Athletic will play Barcelona in the showpiece just two weeks after taking on Real Sociedad in the delayed 2019-20 Copa del Rey final. The game was postponed last season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona Back to Full Strength Soon
Fati’s return from injury will be a big boost for Barcelona whose injury problems are starting to ease. Center-back Ronald Araujo is the latest player to be passed fit and has been included in the squad for Monday’s clash against Huesca.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 15, 2021
Sergi Roberto is the next player expected to return. The versatile 28-year-old has been sidelined with a thigh injury but is expected back after the international break, according to Mundo Deportivo. Barca’s first game after the break is against Real Valladolid on April 4.
Center-back Gerard Pique is also expected back in April and could join Fati in being available for the Copa del Rey final. Pique has already missed four months and suffered a recurrence of a knee injury in the Copa del Rey semi-final win over Sevilla.
The only other Barcelona player currently out injured is Philippe Coutinho who underwent knee surgery in January. The Brazil international has suffered a setback in his recovery but is also expected to be back in action next month.