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Barcelona injury news: European champions hit with fitness blow as world-class star misses Villarreal bout

Barcelona will be without midfielder Andres Iniesta when they travel to Villarreal in La Liga action on Sunday.

As confirmed on the club’s official website, Iniesta is one of five players who will be missing when Luis Enrique’s side face the division’s fourth-placed team.

According to the official report, the playmaker will be missing because of ‘minor fitness concerns’ in news that may well come as a blow to Barca’s hopes of extending their 38-game unbeaten run.

As well as Iniesta, Jordi Masip, Thomas Vermaelen, Douglas and Rafinha are all absent from the coach’s 18 -man squad, although the last of these names is no surprise, with the 23-year-old only returning to training this week following a six-month absence through injury.

Expect Arda Turan to step into the midfield alongside Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic.

Barcelona are currently top of the Spanish first division, eight points ahead of second-place Atletico Madrid, who fell to a suprise 2-1 loss at Sporting Gijon on Saturday.

Despite that unexpected bonus, Luis Enrique will be keen for Barca to take maximum points on Sunday, knowing that Real Madrid and the Clasico are lying in wait after the international break.

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