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Xavi says João Cancelo could return to Barcelona lineup for Copa del Rey clash against Athletic Bilbao

The full-back will not be ready to return against Real Betis, but we won’t have to wait much longer

Las Palmas v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Barcelona have missed the talent and experience of on-loan full-back João Cancelo since the Portugal international suffered a knee injury in the first match of 2024 away to Las Palmas, but we won’t have to wait much longer to see him back in action for the Blaugrana.

Xavi Hernández was asked about Cancelo’s status ahead of Sunday’s La Liga visit to Real Betis, and while the coach doesn’t expect to see the right-back make the trip this weekend he could be ready for Barça’s next game on Wednesday in the Spanish Cup.

“For tomorrow it will be difficult, but I have optimism for [his availability] the Copa del Rey match. He tried to be there tomorrow but still felt some pain. The logic says he won’t be there tomorrow, but he will be there for the Cup.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

That’s a big boost for the Catalans if Cancelo is indeed ready to return for the trip to San Mamés and the Cup quarter-finals against Athletic Bilbao. Given how Barça’s season has gone so far the Copa del Rey is their most realistic shot at a trophy, but Bilbao away is about as difficult an obstacle in their road to the title as there is.

But with Cancelo hopefully back in the lineup, the Blaugrana would have one more high-quality weapon to try and hurt the Basques and find a way to move on to the semi-finals.

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