Afellay, en un moment del partit contra el Rayo Vallecano / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

His last minutes played in the Barça strip were at the Camp Nou during the 8-0 thrashing of Osasuna, and today, he did his part in another Barça exhibition (7-0). After a long time on Barça’s injury list, Ibrahim Afellay returned to competitive football today against Rayo Vallecano.“I really like to play football. I’ve worked hard during the team’s training session and I’m very pleased,” said the Dutch footballer, who also said that he’s been looking forward to this moment with a lot of enthusiasm: “you know the moment will come someday but you don’t know when. I’m happy to return.”

Afellay, therefore, has left behind the ACL injury that he picked up on September 22nd during training. On October 3rd he underwent surgery to mend the torn ligament and he started his long road to recovery the following day. On April 11th, after six months of work and rehabilitation, he was given medical clearance to play and this Sunday he stepped out onto the pitch to help his teammates claim another victory.

Afellay was subbed in for Sergio Busquets on 72 minutes, with 0-4 on the scoreboard. In the 20 minutes he was on the pitch he participated in 10 collective plays and was involved in 21 overall plays. However, beyond the numbers, this Sunday will be remembered as the day of his return. The Dutch player hadn’t played in an official game since the Barça-Osasuna match on September 17th. He played 24 minutes that game.

"We won't change”

Afellay also talked about Guardiola’s decision to leave the Club at the end of the season: “Guardiola is one of the best managers in the world but Tito is almost the same. They’ve worked together all these years. I believe everything will be the same.” The Dutch player, who spoke to the press in Spanish, said “I hope to speak to you in Catalan next year.”

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