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The 26-year-old attacking midfielder is finally fit again after tearing his ACL in training last September and is now looking forward to proving himself to Tito Vilanova

Barcelona's Ibrahim Afellay was ecstatic after making his return to competitive action after seven months out with a knee injury in Sunday's La Liga rout of Rayo Vallecano.

The Dutchman tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a training session on September 22 of last year but featured as a substitute in the Blaurgana's 7-0 victory in Madrid.

Afellay was both relieved and thrilled to be back on the field, though he insisted that he never doubted he would don the Barca jersey again this term.

“You know the moment will come some day but you don’t know when," the Netherlands international is quoted as saying by his club's official website. "I’m so happy to return.

“I just want to play football. I’ve worked hard during the team’s training sessions and I’m very pleased [to be back]."

Meanwhile, Afellay expressed his disappointment at coach Pep Guardiola's decision to stand down at the end of the season, but argued that the Catalans have the ideal replacement in current assistant boss Tito Vilanova.

"It's a shame because Pep for me is one of the best coaches in the world," the 26-year-old attacker said of Guardiola.

"But Tito is about equal because they have worked together many years and I think we will continue just the same."

Afellay, who has been capped 36 times by his country, joined Barca from PSV during last year's January transfer window.