Ousmane Dembele excited a few fans last week, posting an image of himself pulling on his boots at Barcelona’s training ground.
The Frenchman underwent surgery in September and the club announced at the time he would be out for “three and a half months” effectively ruling him out for the rest of the year.
However, Dembele later hinted on Instagram that he hoped to be back in two months and Barcelona’s final fixture of 2017 is at the Santiago Bernabeu on December 23 at 13:00 CET.
Marca now report that Dembele could be fit in time to face Madrid “after making a faster than expected recovery.”
Ernesto Valverde was asked about the Frenchman in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with Sevilla and said his recovery was “going well.”
However, he also sounded cautious, saying players always want to rush back, but hinting that Barca would stick to his schedule.
“He was doing some exercises yesterday. He took his boots off to do that [which was pictured on social media]. It’s the normal process, I spoke to him yesterday, he's quite happy his recovery is going well. Players always want to hurry their recovery but we need to make sure he stays on track.”
Valverde has said previously that Dembele’s injury may have been partly down to inexperience and while we all want to see the youngster back in action as soon as possible, the club must make sure they don’t rush him back before he’s completely ready.