Ousmane Dembele back for Barcelona, no Ivan Rakitic

Ousmane Dembele has returned to Barcelona’s matchday squad for the first time in a month following injury, but Ivan Rakitic has missed out.

Coach Ernesto Valverde has named his 18-man squad to face Villarreal this midweek and Dembele is involved for the first time since sustaining the injury in the opening day 1-0 defeat at Athletic Club Bilbao.

The former Borussia Dortmund forward trained with his teammates on Thursday but despite his return to fitness, Valverde was not keen not to rush the player back into action for this weekend’s trip to Granada, as outlined by Marca.

Dembele, 22, has endured two campaigns blighted by injury at the Camp Nou and it has been reported that there is growing frustration over his continued fitness issues.

The France international netted 14 goals last season but had been restricted to just 20 starts in La Liga and failed to sustain a run of games without further injuries.

Croatian midfielder Rakitic is once again the notable absentee for the Blaugrana – the former Sevilla player is fit but misses out with Carles Alena among those named ahead of him.

Barcelona squad v Villarreal: Ter Stegen, Neto; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Todibo, Junior Firpo; Busquets, De Jong, Arthur, Arturo Vidal, Sergi Roberto, Aleñá; Messi, Luis Suárez, Grizmann, Dembélé, Ansu Fati.

Tags Ousmane Dembele