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Neymar returns to Barcelona squad against Rayo

February 14, 2014

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona forward Neymar has recovered from an ankle injury and will be available to play against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

The Brazil striker had been sidelined since injuring his right ankle in a Copa del Rey match at Getafe on Jan. 16.

Neymar had been training with the first team but received medical clearance only on Friday for the Spanish league match at the Camp Nou.

Neymar has missed eight games since the injury and should be available for Barcelona’s Champions League match at Manchester City on Tuesday.

“He’s been training very well and has recovered well,” Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said. “He looks loose in the trainings, now we just have to see how he responds against our opponents.”

Neymar will take midfielder Xavi Hernandez’s place in the squad after the Spain international exited Wednesday’s 1-1 Copa del Rey draw at Real Sociedad early with a knock. Martino said Xavi’s injury was not serious, making him likely to return against City.

The Spanish champion leads the league alongside Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid after 23 rounds.

Neymar has 10 goals in 24 appearances since his summer move from Santos, which has also caused off-field distractions as a Madrid court investigates irregularities in the player’s contract.

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