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Rakitic returns to Barcelona squad amid Manchester City rumours

11:54 pm AEDT 11/1/17
IvanRakitic - cropped
The Croatian midfielder is in line to feature in the Copa del Rey after speculation regarding a move to the Premier League was dismissed

Ivan Rakitic has been linked with a move to Manchester City, but he returns to the Barcelona squad for the Copa del Rey clash with Athletic Bilbao.

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Croatia international Rakitic was dropped from the side for last Sunday's LaLiga trip to Villarreal amid reports he was the subject of interest from City.

Luis Enrique denied there was any truth to the claims following a 1-1 draw at the Estadio de la Ceramica, while vice-president Jordi Mestre said Barca were in the process of negotiating a contract renewal for the midfielder.

The rumours have rumbled on despite Barca's stance and Rakitic could be back in action for them Wednesday when they host Athletic in the second leg of their last-16 Copa tie, aiming to overturn a 2-1 deficit.

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While Rakitic returns to the matchday squad, Portugal international Andre Gomes, who has failed to impress since his arrival from Valencia in July, has been left out.

Luis Enrique has Jasper Cillessen available once again, the Netherlands international having recovered sufficiently from a calf injury.

Jordi Masip, Aleix Vidal and Jeremy Mathieu have been left out of the matchday squad.