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Samper suffers fresh Barcelona setback

Sergi Samper has had a fresh setback after sustaining a calf injury on his first Barcelona appearance of the season.

The 23-year-old started Barca's Copa del Rey tie away to Cultural Leonesa on Wednesday, but was forced off in the first half.

Barca confirmed tests on Samper have shown the midfielder has injured his right calf.

Samper spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Las Palmas but injuries restricted him to just two LaLiga starts.

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Barca were boosted earlier this week by Lionel Messi's return to training as the captain continues to recover from a fractured arm sustained last month against Sevilla.

Messi has missed Barca's last three matches, including a Champions League win over Inter and Sunday's 5-1 thrashing of Real Madrid in the Clasico that led to Julen Lopetegui's sacking.

Samuel Umtiti is also on the comeback trail with the France international defender having been out of action since the end of September with a knee injury.

LaLiga leaders Barca are next in action away to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.