FC Barcelona's internationals return to training. Messi, Mascherano and Alexis set to return to Barcelona on Thursday

Sergio Busquets greets Tito Vilanova / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Tito Vilanova’s team is nearly back to full strength after the international break. The Spanish internationals, and Adriano, Alves and Song, trained with the team this afternoon. Jordi Alba and Iniesta missed the session

Barça B’s Tello and Oier also trained with the first team

Messi, Mascherano and Alexis are due back in Barcelona on Thursday

Tito Vilanova’s team is nearly back to full strength after the international break. This Wednesday the first team returned to training along with Barça’s Spanish internationals  – Valdés, Piqué, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Pedro and Villa; the U21 Spanish internationals – Montoya and Bartra; the Brazilians Adriano and Dani Alves; and the Cameroon international Alex Song. Barça B’s Tello and Oier also trained with the first team.

Both Jordi Alba, who has the flu, and Andrés Iniesta, who has a muscle injury, missed today’s training session.

Messi, Mascherano and Alexis to return on Thursday and Friday

The team will continue to prepare for Saturday’s Liga clash with Getafe on Thursday afternoon. The session is scheduled for 7:00 PM at the Ciutat Esportiva. Messi, Mascherano and Alexis are due back in Barcelona on Thursday and Friday.

.@andresiniesta8 sidelined for 10 to 15 days with leg injury

Iniesta / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The midfielder pulled the adductor in his right leg during the Spain-Georgia match and will miss Barça’s game away to Getafe. Jordi Alba has the flu and also missed this afternoon’s training session

FC Barcelona’s Medical Services announced that Andrés Iniesta has pulled the adductor in his right leg. The midfielder, who will be out of action for 10 to 15 days, returned Barcelona after featuring in two matches for the Spanish national team.

Jordi Alba has the flu and will undergo further tests on Friday. The player also returned to Barcelona this Wednesday after playing with the Spanish national team.

The player @Guaje7Villa says “I feel normal and I'm very eager to help the team” #FCBlive

Villa / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Once recovered and “feeling good” after playing his first competitive minutes of football, the forward said that he’s “very eager” to help the team this season

“The match away to Getafe is one of the most difficult games of the season, we lost at the Coliseum last year,” he said

David Villa feels like a professional footballer once again. After spending eight months on the sidelines, the forward recently made his comeback to competitive play for both FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team. “I feel good. I’m finally feeling normal after such a long time … I’m being named to the team, I’m available to play, and I’m getting some minutes on the pitch,” said Villa during today’s press conference. The Spanish forward also noted that he’s “very eager to help the team achieve success this year.”

Time to adjust to competitive play

Despite completely recovering from his fractured tibia, El Guaje is in no mood to rush things. “I need more time. I’ve been recovering for months, almost eight months without competing, getting back to form requires time. I have to be patient, because I won’t be able help anyone if I rush things now. Everything I’ve lost so far [in reference to last season] won’t be won back no matter how hard I work,” he said.

Grateful for the support

The player also noted that the support and affection he received throughout his recovery process was overwhelming: “the Club and the fans gave me a lot of support throughout my recovery, at times it was almost overwhelming. I want to return the gesture.”

Complicated match against Getafe

The forward believes that the clash with Getafe will be one of Barça’s most difficult matches away from the Camp Nou this year: “the match against Getafe is highlighted on the schedule. We lost there last year.” Villa also noted that Saturday’s match is key if Barça hope to maintain the five-point advantage over Real Madrid, an advantage that Villa doesn’t consider “normal” so early in the season.

Getafe, a familiar rival after an international break

Messi in the 2009/10 season at the Coliseum / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB
FC Barcelona and Getafe have faced off on three occasions after international breaks, with a record of one Azulgrana victory and two draws

On Saturday at 20.00, Barça will play away to Getafe, at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, after the international break. Barça have faced Getafe three times after international breaks with a record of two draws and one victory.

2009/10 season

The last time both teams faced off in La Liga after the international break was three seasons ago, in September 2009, when Guardiola’s Barça edged Getafe by two goals. The Azulgranas left it late at the Coliseum, but goals from Ibrahimovic and Messi were enough to secured the three points.

2008/09 season

On November 23, 2008, Barça hosted Getafe at the Camp Nou just after the Azulgrana internationals returned from intentional duty. It was the 12th match day of the Liga. Manu del Moral struck first for the Madrid side in the first half and Seydou Keita brought Barça level in the second (1-1).

2006/07 season

The third time both teams played against each other after an international break was in January of 2007. Guiza scored the opener but Rijkaard’s Barça managed to secure a point away to Getafe thanks to Xavi’s equaliser (1-1).

Barça players put in 1,777 minutes with national teams

Pedro, against Georgia / FOTO: CARMELO RUBIO
Messi the only player to play full 180 minutes
Valdés, Villa, Alba, Adriano, Alexis and Song played just one game
If the four Barça B players are included, the time played climbs to 2,311.

Barça’s international players put in a total of 1,777 minutes with their national teams during the international break. Below we summarise their participation:

Keepers (71 minutes)

Valdés. 71 minutes played. Valdes played for Spain for the first 71 minutes in the friendly against Saudi Arabia and didn’t feature against Georgia.

Defence (675 minutes)

Alves. 151 minutes played. Started the games against South Africa and China – when he was subbed in the second half.

Montoya. 152 minutes played. Played right back for the Spanish Under 21s against Switzerland and Croatia, when he was taken off towards the end of the game.

Piqué. 135 minutes played. Started against Saudi Arabia and was taken off at half time, then played the whole game against Georgia. Together with Xavi, was Del Bosque’s most used Barça player.

Jordi Alba. 90 minutes played. The left back was rested for the first of Spain’s games and then played the whole 90 minutes against Georgia.

Adriano 29 minutes played. Didn’t play against South Africa and came on for Alves in the game against China. The Barça player with fewest minutes played.

Bartra. 118 minutes played. Key in Spain’s Under 21 team, Bartra played 90 minutes against Switzerland and the final part of the less important Croatia match.

Midfield (607 minutes)

Mascherano. 90 minutes played. Suspended for the Paraguay game, Mascherano played the full 90 minutes as a defensive midfielder against Peru.

Busquets. 116 minutes played. Started Spain’s two games and was subbed in the second half in both.

Iniesta. 120 minutes played. The fans chanted for him to come on against Saudi Arabia, when he put in the last half hour before playing the full 90 minutes against Georgia.

Xavi. 135 minutes played. Came on for the second half against Saudi Arabia and played all the game against Georgia where he showed his importance to the team.

Cesc. 56 minutes played. 45 minutes against Saudi Arabia –all the first half- ad the last 11 minutes against Georgia, when he played a decisive part in the winning goal.

Song. 90 minutes played. Played all of Cameroon’s only game, when they lost 2-0 to Cape Verde.

Attack (424 minutes)

Alexis. 82 minutes played. Like Song, Alexis only had one game on the agenda, with Chile playing Colombia. He was subbed late on, when the game was already lost.

Pedro. 124 minutes played. Two goals against Saudi Arabia and had a great effect when he came on in the second half against Georgia.

Villa. 38 minutes played. Came back after his long injury absence to play in the second half against Saudi Arabia and score from the spot.

Messi. 180 minutes played. Hero of the game against Paraguay, when he scored and hit the woodwork, he was unable to celebrate anther win against Peru.

Barça B (534 minutes)

Planas. 180 minutes played. Planas played left back against Switzerland and Croatia and was the Barça B player who put in most time for Julen Lopetegui’s side.

Sergi Roberto. 91 minutes played. Came on very late against Switzerland and then played the full 90 minutes against Croatia.

Tello. 111 minutes played. Started against Switzerland and on the bench for the Croatia game, setting up the last goal of the game once he came on.

Deulofeu. 152 minutes played. Started both games and scored a great goal against Croatia to make it 2-0 and also set up another.