Aguero features in Barcelona training match after return from injury

By Sports Desk October 13, 2021

Barcelona could soon be able to call on Sergio Aguero after the forward returned to some form of action during a training match on Wednesday.

Aguero joined Barca on a free transfer following the expiration of his Manchester City contract at the end of last season.

The 33-year-old helped Argentina win the Copa America during the close-season, yet a calf injury suffered just before the start of 2021-22 has seen him miss the opening weeks of the campaign.

Barca and under-pressure Ronald Koeman need all the help they can get. The Blaugrana sit ninth in LaLiga following a 2-0 defeat to champions Atletico Madrid last time out, while they have also lost both of their Champions League matches so far.

In a boost, Aguero returned to training over the international break and on Wednesday he featured in a training game against UE Cornella.

It remains to be seen whether Aguero will be fit enough to play a part in Sunday's match against Valencia, as Barca look to get their season on track.

A home match against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League is then followed by the first Clasico of the season, with Real Madrid visiting Camp Nou on October 24.

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    The Brazil forward has been ruled out for six to eight weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage against Saint-Etienne last weekend.

    Neymar was carried off during the final stages of Sunday's 3-1 win in Ligue 1, and will not play again in 2021.

    Speaking ahead of PSG's home match against Nice on Wednesday, Pochettino expressed his sympathy for Neymar, who has registered three goals and three assists in 10 league appearances this season.

    Nevertheless, the head coach insists his side must demonstrate their ability to cope during his spell on the sidelines.

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    "We are not trying to replace Neymar, but to find solutions to have the best tactical balance.

    "We feel that we are facing a challenge that makes us grow as a team and as a staff. 

    "These are problems that arise and to which solutions must be found.

    "I think the principle of the team, of the game is going to be there. 

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    The 33-year-old has scored 34 goals for Madrid this calendar year and was recalled to the France squad in May after a six-year exile.

    Benzema's combined 46 goals and assists in 2021 has been bettered only by Erling Haaland (48), Kylian Mbappe (51) and Robert Lewandowski (59) from Europe's top five leagues when taking all club competitions into account.

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    Benzema and Vinicius are in contention to start Wednesday's clash with Athletic as Madrid aim to make it five league wins in a row and maintain a four-point lead at the top.

    Madrid are unbeaten in their last 12 LaLiga games against Athletic (W8 D4), one short of their best unbeaten run against the Basque club in the top flight.

    Ancelotti, who has lost only one of his four LaLiga games against Athletic, is prepared to make changes to Madrid's line-up three days on from their 2-1 win against Sevilla.

    "It's an evaluation I make every day," he said. "The dynamics of the team right now are very good. I won't rotate for the sake of it, but if we have any risks then of course we will do it.

    "We are facing a well organised team at the back. Marcelino trains all his teams very well, especially in a defensive sense.

    "This game will demand a lot from us and we need some offensive clarity. They are also a team that attacks vertically, so we must show good balance."

    Despite having to contend with injury problems and a congested schedule, Ancelotti reiterated Madrid are not likely to bring in any new players in January.

    "You have the summer to improve the squad," he said. "I don't like using January to adjust as that means something must have gone wrong in the summer.

    "If players are not happy then we'll think about it, but we are not looking to sign. The squad is fine and will compete until the end."

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