Barcelona have received a huge boost after France centre-back Samuel Umtiti joined Argentina superstar Lionel Messi in the squad to face Real Betis.
Messi, 31, had been widely expected to return on Sunday at Camp Nou after three weeks out with a fractured arm. The presence of Umtiti, however, in the 19-man list released by the La Liga champions on Saturday was a shock.
Umtiti, 24, has not played since September 26 because of a knee complaint and, at one point, was expected to be sidelined for several months.
Both men travelled for Wednesday’s Champions League draw at Inter Milan, but Umtiti was never in contention to feature. In contrast, Messi made the trip “without medical all-clear” and was only ruled out by the club at the last minute.
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