Barcelona's Dembele on track to return before Chelsea clash

Ernesto Valverde seems confident Ousmane Dembele will be fully fit well before Barcelona meet Chelsea in the Champions League.

Barcelona's Dembele on track to return before Chelsea clash

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is expected to return to full fitness by next week, according to head coach Ernesto Valverde.

100-plus-million winger close to return

The France international suffered a hamstring injury in January and was ruled out for up to a month by club medics.

Dembele's setback came less than two weeks after he returned to action following a more serious hamstring tear, which saw him sidelined for nearly four months. The player's signing last summer was a key response to the Catalan club losing Neymar but his talent has not yet had a chance to be showcased.

LaLiga prep for Chelsea clash

The 20-year-old will not play a part in Barca's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Valencia on Thursday but could be in line for the LaLiga game against Eibar on February 17, which takes place just three days before the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Chelsea.

"He's okay," Valverde told a news conference when asked about Dembele. "He's started training sessions. I hope he can come back into the squad for next week."