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Afellay set for Barcelona first-team return

Afellay has been plagued by fitness problems over the past two and a half seasons, initially being sidelined by a cruciate ligament injury in his left knee in September 2011.

The 27-year-old joined Bundesliga outfit Schalke on loan for the 2012-13 season, but he made just 10 league appearances due to a series of hamstring complaints, with his last competitive club outing coming in Schalke's 2-1 triumph over Werder Bremen in November 2012.

A chronic thigh complaint has kept Afellay out of contention for Barca's first-team so far this campaign.

He underwent surgery in August to try and correct the problem, and has not featured for the Catalan outfit since May 2012.

However, the Netherlands international is now finally on the mend, with Barca confirming on their website: "Ibrahim Afellay is back in action. 

"He has been declared fit and ready to play for the first time (for Barcelona) since May 2012, when he was in the Barca team that played away to Betis.

"The 2013-14 season has not been overly happy for Ibrahim Afellay either. On August 22, 2013 he underwent an operation on a chronic thigh injury, although he has been able to train normally since the final weeks of 2013."

Afellay, who has two goals in 33 Barcelona appearances across all competitions, could now play some part in the squad to face Malaga at Camp Nou on Sunday.