Robert Lewandowski has been included in Barcelona’s squad to face Espanyol on Saturday after his three-match ban was temporarily lifted.
Lewandowski was initially suspended for a gesture which was deemed to ‘question the integrity of the official’ in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Osasuna before the World Cup break, although the Blaugrana have always argued that the action in question has been misinterpreted.
A first appeal to La Liga failed, as did a second to Spain’s Administrative Court of Sport, but Barcelona have not given up and took the issue to the court of disputes in Madrid and have since been granted a temporary removal of the ban.
Lewandowski’s suspension is still under investigation but, while that process is ongoing, the Poland international is free to continue playing.
As a result, Xavi has included Lewandowski in his squad for Saturday’s Catalan derby against Espanyol, although the boss admitted he was unimpressed with the short notice given to him about the decision.
“We only found out when training was finished,” he said. “We prepared for the game without Robert.
“It is great news, of course, but to find out a day before is not the best timing for us. But we are happy. Even he was surprised by the decision.”
Lewandowski returns to the Barcelona squad alongside centre-back Ronald Araujo, who has recovered from a groin issue and is now set to make his first appearance of any kind since initially picking up the injury back in September.