Midfielder Rafinha returns to Barcelona squad for first time since April

The midfielder has made Valverde's 18 man squad for Espanyol

Barça play their city rivals in the Copa del Rey quarterfinal

Rafinha estará en Cornellà-El Prat junto a Paulinho
Rafinha estará en Cornellà-El Prat junto a Paulinho | sport

Ernesto Valverde has called up 18 players for Wednesday's game against Espanyol at Cornelle-El Prat in the quarterfinal of the Copa del Rey. 

Ivan San Antonio


The big news is the inclusion of Rafinha. The midfielder's in talks over an exit from the club and has an offer from Inter Milan. However, Barça have not yet received an acceptable proposal from the Italian club -- Rafinha's inclusion could be a bid to force their hand.  

Valverde has also included Barça B midfielder Carles Aleña for the Catalan derby. 

Andres Iniesta is missing with a calf problem and Samuel Umtiti is not yet fit to return. Javier Mascherano is also out with an injury, so Pique and Vermaelen will continue in the middle of defence. 

Barça are also without record signings Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, while Paco Alcacer still waits for the green light to return to action and Yerry Mina doesn't yet have international clearance. 

Gerard Deulofeu's once again omitted but Aleix Vidal and Nelson Semedo do make the squad. 

The squad is:

Cillessen, Ter Stegen, Semedo, Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Vermaelen, Alba, Digne, Busquets, Rakitic, Rafinha, Aleix Vidal, Paulinho, André Gomes, Denis Suárez, Messi, Luis Suárez and Aleñá.



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