Xavi hails Villa comeback

Barcelona team-mates delighted by forward's Nou Camp return

David Villa: Happy after taking 'important step forward' with goalscoring comeback

Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes the return of David Villa was the highlight of Sunday's 5-1 mauling of Real Sociedad.

Villa made his first competitive appearance of 2012 at the Nou Camp to complete his recovery from a broken leg - scoring just nine minutes after replacing Pedro as a second-half substitute.

By that point, the game had been won thanks to a Lionel Messi brace and efforts from Carles Puyol and Pedro, but Xavi was left in no doubt what the most important thing was.

Xavi said of the 30-year-old on Canal Plus: "He has suffered a lot, he had a major injury and he is back. The truth is that the best thing of all is the return of 'Guaje' Villa."

Pedro echoed those sentiments, saying: "Villa's return is the best piece of news of the game. He scored a goal and it's an absolute joy to have him with us."

Missed

Villa missed Spain's successful Euro 2012 campaign as well as the run-in to the 2011-12 season that saw Barca edged out in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.

But the forward is back and he intends to keep on working to get back to his best.

The former Valencia man told Sport newspaper: "I'm happy with how the day went, I've taken a very important step forward, it was an intensive 20 minutes. Now I need to continue training.

"I've spent a lot of time working and I still need to continue working, and enjoying it like I did today. Let's hope it continues like that."

He added: "You're fortunate when so many people help you, it's difficult to thank them all. I want to extend my gratitude to everyone, without them I would not have managed it."