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Double boost for Barcelona

Barcelona have been boosted by the return of Tito Vilanova to training on Friday, but the coach will be absent for their trip to Celta Vigo.

After spending 10 weeks in New York receiving cancer treatment, Vilanova took charge of the La Liga leaders for training.

French left-back Eric Abidal, who underwent a liver transplant in April last year, is in the squad and could feature competitively for Barca for the first time since February 2012.

Barcelona assistant Jordi Roura has been in charge in Vilanova’s absence and welcomed back the 44-year-old.

“It is very important to us that Tito is back. It’s important for two reasons,” Roura said.

“Professionally, because our manager is back, our boss is back. That’s very important to us and personally because he gives us energy and strength. We are very happy.

“He will manage the training today but he won’t come to Vigo. We’ll have to wait to see how he is if comes to Paris. We are very happy. It is very good news for us.”

Vilanova’s presence could be a huge boost for Barcelona if he can make the trip to France for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

His absence for the Celta Vigo clash is one of many, with Jordi Alba, Carles Puyol, Xavi, Pedro and Adriano sidelined.

Roura said it was up to other members of Barcelona’s squad to step up against the relegation-threatened Celta Vigo.

“Every year, during the season, there is a moment when that (injuries) happens,” he said.

“Now we have a lot of injured players, but that has happened before as well. And, as before, other players will have to play.

“But that’s the function of those players. It doesn’t matter who will play, they are all good and will play at 100 percent.”

Fri 29 March, 2013
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