Iniesta gets training boost

Influential midfielder comes through training unscathed

Iniesta: Closing in on return

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Influential midfielder Andres Iniesta has handed both Barcelona and World Cup favourites Spain a boost this week.

The 26-year-old celebrated his birthday on Tuesday and received the perfect present by coming through training unscathed.

The Spain star has been out of action for more than a month but now hopes to play his part in helping Barcelona retain the Primera Division title on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola's side must beat relegation-threatened Real Valladolid at the Camp Nou in their final game of the season to make sure of the title from rivals Real Madrid, who take on Malaga.


Iniesta told his personal website: "I want to see how it (my injury) evolves throughout the week and see what I feel because of the injury four weeks ago.

"I hope to play on Sunday.

"I have enjoyed the league season with my colleagues for so long that now we have nearly reached the end we must carry on to win the title."

Team-mate Lionel Messi is not expecting an easy encounter at the weekend, telling the club's official website: "It will be difficult.

Last step

"At this point we have to make the last step. It will be much more complicated than people think.

"I want all my colleagues and me to be champions. We want to celebrate a title at home in front of our fans, and to honour the Nou Camp by winning the league."

Barcelona skipper Carles Puyol has also warned against complacency against a side who are fighting for survival.

"The match on Sunday will be difficult and complicated although we play at the Nou Camp," said Puyol, who acknowledged it would be special to claim the crown in front of their own fans.

He added: "To obtain a title at home and with the fans adds a plus for the squad. We are preparing for the match calmly because an error could break our dream."