FC Barcelona midfielder Mark van Bommel is preparing to return to action after six weeks on the sidelines, while there is also good news for Real Madrid CF and FC Bayern München.
Van Bommel suffered an injury to his left ankle, damaging the ligaments in training with the Dutch national team six weeks ago and, although the 28-year-old midfield player returned to training with the Spanish champions' senior squad shortly before Christmas, he was yet to receive full clearance from the club's medical staff. That has now been granted, allowing Van Bommel to look forward to facing third division side Zamora CF in the Copa del Rey next Tuesday.
"I felt great during training, I've been back on the ball and working with the full squad and I feel optimistic about playing in the King's Cup," said Van Bommel, who moved to Spain from PSV Eindhoven in the summer. "We have a very good team and veryone wants to play. It won't be easy to win my place back but I'm ready. It's always difficult to play against teams like Zamora because they give all they have, are at the top of their motivation, and we have to play in a small stadium full of their supporters. But it's important for us to start the year with a victory."
Raúl returns to training
There was also good news for Barcelona's Spanish rivals Madrid, whose captain Raúl González resumed running in training on Friday. The Spanish international forward suffered a serious knee injury in mid October, but had only two days off over Christmas and has been working hard exercising his left knee muscles in a bid to shorten his rehabilitation time, which was initially estimated at six months.
German champions Bayern will have 23-year-old right-back Andreas Görlitz available again for the spring season after 12 months on the sidelines. The defender returned to individual training this week after four operations during his year out, which was originally caused by damaged cruciate ligaments. Görlitz also refused to take a rest during winter break and is instead working on his fitness. Görlitz, who has won two caps for Germany, will join the rest of Felix Magath's team in their training camp in Dubai at the beginning of January.
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