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Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 12:24 UK

Iniesta upbeat over fitness race

Andres Iniesta
Iniesta says scans revealed only a partial tear

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta says he expects to be fit for the Champions League final against Manchester United in Rome on 27 May.

The Catalan side already have concerns over striker Thierry Henry, who has a knee ligament injury, while defender Rafael Marquez is definitely out.

Iniesta tore a thigh muscle during Barcelona's 3-3 draw with Villarreal as his side close in on the Spanish title.

"It is a small tear that wasn't as bad as we thought," said Iniesta.

"I will be in Rome, the enthusiasm I have to play in the final will help my recovery."

Barcelona will definitely be without suspended defenders Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves, while injured Marquez recently had surgery on his left knee.

Iniesta, who scored Barcelona's late equaliser against Chelsea on 6 May to send his side through to the final on away goals, has been ruled out of Wednesday's Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao.

He is also expected to be sidelined for Barcelona's next two La Liga fixtures - against Real Mallorca and Osasuna.


Henry missed the semi-final, second leg 1-1 draw with Chelsea after twisting his knee during Barcelona's recent 6-2 win over Real Madrid.

A statement on the Barca website said: "His presence is more than doubtful going into the match in Rome.

"His participation there in the final is not guaranteed."

The former Arsenal forward trained with his Barca team-mates ahead of the match at Stamford Bridge but did not make the substitutes' bench for the game.

The 31-year-old will also not feature against Athletic Bilbao and is set to miss Barca's next two Spanish league fixtures.

Henry scored twice in Barcelona's thrashing of Real Madrid, although he was withdrawn after 60 minutes.

The Frenchman is having specialist treatment in a bid to get him fit for the showdown with United.

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see also
Barca to contest Abidal red card
09 May 09 |  Europe
Fletcher downbeat on final hopes
10 May 09 |  Man Utd
Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona (agg 1-1)
06 May 09 |  Europe
Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea
28 Apr 09 |  Europe
Superb Barca destroy rivals Real
02 May 09 |  Europe

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