Sergio Aguero appears to be in contention to make his official Barcelona debut at the weekend after netting in a training ground friendly on Wednesday morning.
The 33-year-old joined the Catalan giants on a free transfer after bringing a decade-long stay at Premier League champions Manchester City to an end in the summer.
But the Argentina striker only returned to training earlier this week following a right calf injury suffered in a pre-season session in August, just a week before the start of Barcelona’s LaLiga campaign.
Sergio Aguero played and scored for Barcelona in a training ground friendly on Wednesday
The Argentine played his first unofficial match since returning from a right calf injury
And having taken part in training on Tuesday, Aguero took another step towards making his official Barcelona bow by playing and scoring against third-tier side UE Cornella in a behind-closed-doors friendly.
It is unclear if Aguero came through the match – which also included Spain internationals Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Eric Garcia and Gavi – unscathed, although there was no report of any niggle from the club’s Twitter account.
And if confirmed, the former Atletico Madrid striker could well play some part in Sunday’s home match against Valencia.
But failing that, Aguero could still make a timely return in time for El Clasico on October 24 at the Nou Camp, where the club will hope to pull themselves back into the title race when they take on current league leaders and bitter rivals Real Madrid.
The 33-year-old was pictured back in training this week after suffering the injury in August
Aguero’s return will come as a huge boost to under-fire boss Ronald Koeman (right)
The Catalan side are looking to kick-start their campaign this weekend however against Jose Bordalas’ men after winning one of their last six games in all competitions, and failing to score in four of them.
Valencia sit one place above 9th-place Barcelona in the table on the same number of points as Ronald Koeman’s men.
However, Barcelona have played one game fewer than Sunday’s opponents after their match against fourth-place Sevilla last month was postponed following a complaint from both clubs about the unavailability of their South American stars following the international break.
Koeman’s men also face a home Champions League tie against Dynamo Kyiv sandwiched in between their Spanish top-flight matches against Valencia and Real Madrid.
And despite their atrocious start to the season, Barcelona sit just five points behind Carlo Ancelotti’s league leaders with a game in hand following Los Blancos’ defeat against another Catalan side – Espanyol – before the international break.
Barcelona play host to Valencia this weekend looking to win just their second game in seven
But to do so Koeman will need Aguero to hit the ground running with his side scoring just 11 goals so far this season.
But Koeman appeared hopeful in July about the impact the Argentine could have at the club, telling club media: ‘He’s really experienced, really good quality in the box.
‘He’s a finishing player, scoring goals and let’s hope that we can put him on a good physical level. I think he lost a little bit last season.
‘He had some injuries and was not physically top where you need to be to play but we give him that possibility to come to that level.’
Aguero returned the favour to the Dutchman two months later, saying: ‘The relationship is good. He’s a very direct guy and that relieves the player.
‘He tells you if he likes what you do and also if he doesn’t like what you do. It’s better this way to know what’s happening.’
If Aguero is not risked in Sunday’s fixture, he is still in line to feature against Real Madrid