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Jules Kounde back in Barcelona squad for El Clasico

Jules Kounde back in Barcelona squad for El Clasico

Jules Kounde is back in the Barcelona squad for Sunday’s El Clasico with Real Madrid at Bernabeu.

The centre-back has been on the sidelines since suffering a hamstring problem while representing France during the September international break.

Kounde returned to first-team training in the latter stages of last week, though, and the Frenchman has now been confirmed in the squad for the clash in the Spanish capital.

The summer arrival from Sevilla could potentially replace Gerard Pique at the back, with the experienced defender struggling against Inter Milan in the Champions League last week.

Barcelona's Ronald Araujo pictured in September 2022© Reuters

While Kounde’s return is a huge boost for Barcelona at a vital stage of the season, the Catalan outfit remain without the services of four first-team players.

Andreas Christensen is still on the sidelines with an ankle problem, while Hector Bellerin (calf), Ronald Araujo (thigh) and Memphis Depay (hamstring) are again out of the squad.

Araujo will not be available for selection until after the World Cup, but Christensen, Bellerin and Memphis are all expected to return to action before the end of the month.

Franck Kessie and Frenkie de Jong have both recently been out with injuries, but the pair have returned to the squad of late and are again in the selection for this match.

Andreas Christensen in action for Barcelona on August 13, 2022© Reuters

Barcelona did not pick up any fresh fitness concerns in their European clash with Inter on Wednesday night.

Frenkie de Jong, Alejandro Balde and Ansu Fati are among the players pushing for spots in the starting XI following the 3-3 draw with the Italian giants.

Robert Lewandowski is a certain starter in El Clasico, with the 34-year-old scoring another two goals for the club during the week, but the brace was not enough to help Xavi‘s side beat their Serie A opposition.

Since arriving at Camp Nou from Bayern Munich, the Poland international has scored 14 times in 12 appearances for his new side, including nine in eight La Liga outings.

Barcelona are top of La Liga, albeit level on points with Real Madrid (22), ahead of the match.

Barcelona squad vs. Real Madrid:

Ter Stegen, Pena, Tenas; Pique, Alonso, Alba, Roberto, Kounde, E Garcia, Balde; Busquets, Pedri, Kessie, F de Jong, Gavi, Torre; Dembele, Lewandowski, Fati, Ferran, Raphinha

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