Barcelona's record signing, Philippe Coutinho, has returned to first team training having made progress in his recovery from a thigh injury.

By 90Min
January 21, 2018

Barcelona's record signing, Philippe Coutinho, has returned to first team training having made progress in his recovery from a thigh injury, Sport have reported.

The Brazilian international, who signed from Liverpool for £142m earlier this month, trained with his teammates at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper ahead of Sunday's trip to Real Betis.

Coach Ernesto Valverde, speaking before the game, confirmed that Coutinho's much-anticipated debut is now imminent.

"I am reluctant to put an exact date on when injured players will return, but the evolution from the injury has been very positive,” Valverde said.

“It was a minor thigh problem, which is a sensitive zone when you’re striking the ball, so you have to be careful with it in that regard.

”I don’t know if he will be back for the Copa [against Espanyol on Thursday] or against Alaves [on Sunday], but we hope that he will be back soon. Thursday is possible.”

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Barcelona are also waiting on the returns of Samuel Umtiti and Paco Alcacer, both of whom joined Coutinho in training on Saturday after spells on the sidelines.

Andres Iniesta and Javier Mascherano, meanwhile, were both absent from the session as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.

There were fears over a potential foot injury for midfielder Paulinho, but he is set to play against Betis.

A win for Barcelona on Sunday would see Valverde's side move 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.

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