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Football | Spain

Xavi set to return from injury



Barcelona playmaker Xavi may recover from a hamstring injury in time to feature in Wednesday's Champions League last 16 first leg at Serie A side AC Milan, interim coach Jordi Roura said on Friday.

The 33-year-old has not featured for the La Liga leaders since a 1-1 draw at Valencia on February 3 and had to pull out of the Spain squad for this month's friendly against Uruguay.

"We hope that he'll make it but we'll see how things develop," Roura, who is standing in for Tito Vilanova while he recovers from throat surgery, told a news conference.

As well as Xavi, Barca will be without forward David Villa for Saturday's La Liga game at Granada, Roura said.

Villa has been in and out of hospital this week for treatment on kidney stones and was not included in the squad for the trip to Andalusia.

"It was a setback that disrupted his rhythm," Roura said.

Barca can go 15 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid with a win at 14th-placed Granada, who shocked visiting champions Real Madrid by beating them 1-0 this month.

Atletico, who suffered their first home defeat of the season against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday, play at Real Valladolid on Sunday.

Real, four points behind Atletico in third, host Rayo Vallecano in Sunday's late kickoff.

"We are focusing all our efforts on the Granada game because the league is key for us," Roura said, adding that he may rotate the squad to rest some players for the Milan clash.

"We are in a comfortable position but that should not be an excuse for any king of relaxation.

"The part of the season is coming when there is a lot at stake in only a few days.

"From a physical and psychological point of view we are in good shape."



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