Iniesta on brink of Barca return

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has almost completely recovered from a thigh injury that has kept him on the sidelines for six weeks and could play in the Primera Liga match at Villarreal on Sunday.

The Spain international strained his right thigh muscle in the 1-1 draw against Champions League Group C rivals Basel at the start of last month and only began training again last week.

He said on Monday he was almost ready to return to action but cautioned that he would not risk coming back too early and injuring himself again.

"The important thing is that I am feeling good and my injury is almost behind me," he said on the club's website.

"Little by little, I am nearing the time when I can play a match which is what I most want," he added.

"Let's see how I feel this week. When I feel in perfect shape to play, I will play."

League leaders Barca are eight points clear of Valencia and Sevilla after Saturday's 2-0 victory over champions Real Madrid at the Nou Camp.

Real are 12 points off the pace down in sixth but Iniesta said it was vital the Barca players remained calm and noted there was still a long way to go in the season.

"We should not forgot that although eight points is a significant gap there are still a lot more to play for," he said. "We need to remain focused on that."