Afellay return boosts Barca ahead of run-in

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Netherlands forward Ibrahim Afellay has been passed fit to return for Barcelona after recovering from a long layoff, the European and Spanish champions said in a statement on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old tore a ligament in his left knee during training with Barca in September and after an operation has spent nearly seven months working his way back to fitness.

Afellay's return is a boost for Pep Guardiola's side for the last few weeks of the campaign as they chase trophies on three fronts.

Barca lie second in La Liga, play a Champions League semi-final against Chelsea this month and face Athletic Bilbao in the King's Cup final on May 25.

Afellay, who was a part of the Dutch squad who lost to Spain in the World Cup final in 2010,could also be back in the running for a place in their squad at Euro 2012 in June.