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Pedri’s return from injury offers Barcelona a timely boost ahead of El Clasico

Barcelona will take on their arch-rivals Real Madrid this weekend in an exciting El Clasico, which will have a huge say in the La Liga title race.

The Catalan giants have extra time to prepare for the clash, with Madrid playing Liverpool in their Champions League round of 16 second-leg game tonight.

The Blaugrana want to use it to their advantage and arrive in the best shape for Sunday’s gigantic clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Barca will be once again without Ousmane Dembele, who continues his spell on the sidelines with an injury.

However, they have been handed a massive boost with the return of Pedri, who has been out of action since the first leg of the Europa League game against Manchester United.

The 20-year-old has returned to full training, and he will reportedly be ready to feature in the Clasico.

A hamstring injury saw him leave the field during the 2-2 draw against the Red Devils at Camp Nou, and his absence was felt in the games that followed.

Barca fell short against Man United in the second leg at Old Trafford despite taking the lead first. A lack of control and intention in the second half led to their elimination from Europa League.

They then suffered a shock loss against Almeria but have recovered from that brief rough patch by claiming victories against Madrid (Copa del Rey), Valencia and Athletic Bilbao.

However, they were narrow wins in which Barca struggled to establish their dominance and create chances.

Against Athletic Club last week, VAR saved Barca after ruling out Inaki Williams’ equaliser at the death.

One of the key reasons for Barca’s struggles is Pedri’s absence, who has been the creator-in-chief and a primary tempo controller for the Catalans this season.

The Spaniard has maintained his status as one of the best central midfielders in Europe this term.

He has also massively worked on his scoring prowess, netting seven goals in all competitions this season – Barcelona’s third top goalscorer after Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

Franck Kessie will likely be dropped is Pedri makes his way into the starting XI for the Clasico.

With Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets and Gavi also in impressive form, Pedri’s return could help Barca win the midfield battle against Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Barcelona are currently top of the La Liga table, nine points ahead of Los Blancos.

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