MADRID – Striker David Villa was included in the Barcelona squad on Tuesday for the first time since he broke his leg in December.
“He seems in very good shape after such a long and tough injury,” team mate Andres Iniesta told a news conference ahead of Barca’s friendlies against Manchester United on Wednesday and Dinamo Bucharest three days later.
New coach Tito Vilanova, who replaced Pep Guardiola at the end of last season, named Villa in the 24-man squad for the matches in Gothenburg and Bucharest, Barca’s final friendlies before the La Liga season starts the weekend of August 18-19.
The Catalan club missed his goals during the second half of last term, when their Champions League bid was ended in the semi-finals by eventual winners Chelsea and they lost their Spanish league title to arch rivals Real Madrid.
“It’s a joy to see him train, as he is a key player,” Iniesta said. “We hope that he can return to action soon and do what he best knows how to, which is score goals.”
Villa, Spain’s all-time leading marksman who joined Barca from Valencia two years ago, fractured his left leg at the Club World Cup.
The 30-year-old missed Spain’s triumphant Euro 2012 campaign before being given the all-clear by Barca’s medical staff at the end of last month.