Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has announced that he expects to be fit for the Catalan club immediately after the end of the winter break, while Lionel Messi is closing in on action, too.

The 31-year-old Spain international has been missing for the Camp Nou outfit since November’s 4-1 win over Real Betis because of a calf injury sustained playing for La Roja against South Africa in a friendly, yet he is now set to replace Jose Pinto in goal for Gerardo Martino’s side.

“I’m ready,” the goalkeeper Tweeted, alongside a video of him with club physio Juanjo Brau performing a strenuous save in training. “Thanks Juanjo for always being there.”

Barca have not yet declared Valdes fit to play but he should be back in time to play Elche in La Liga, while Lionel Messi is expected to return a week later for the crunch encounter against Atletico Madrid after stepping up his training over the Christmas period.

The Argentine star could even return a little earlier, with the midweek encounter against Getafe in the Copa del Rey an opportunity for the Catalans to assess his match readiness.

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