Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao showed clear signs of recovery from a muscle injury and will be available for this weekend's much-anticipated match against unbeaten FC Barcelona at Camp Nou.
The Colombian star, who was taken out of the lineup just prior to Atletico's Copa del Rey (King's Cup) match Wednesday against Getafe because of the injury, returned to the practice Friday after sitting out the previous day.
Falcao is the second-leading goal scorer this season in the Spanish league with 16, seven behind Barcelona great Lionel Messi.
Barcelona leads the standings with 43 points, having compiled a record of 14 wins, one draw and no losses through 15 games. Atletico is currently in second place with 37 points.
Sunday's showdown, which comes near the end of the first half of the 38-week league schedule, will be the first match this season between the two clubs.
Atletico Madrid will look to make a better showing than two weeks ago when the team suffered a 2-0 road defeat to third-place Real Madrid, the defending La Liga champions.
To pull off the upset and give a boost to its title hopes, Atletico will likely need to contain Messi, who will be looking to add to his Guinness World Record tally of 88 goals in a calendar year.
Although Falcao was on the field, two other Atletico players missed practice on Friday: Spanish striker Adrian Lopez, who suffered an ankle sprain during his team's 3-0 Copa Del Rey win over Getafe; and Uruguayan midfielder Cristian Rodriguez, who is still recovering from a muscle injury.
Atletico is off to a strong 12-1-2 start as its seeks its first La Liga title since 1996. EFE