Barcelona defender Jules Kounde has returned to training in a huge fitness boost for Xavi's side ahead of this weekend's showdown with Real Madrid

The 23-year-old has not played for Barca since their 3-0 win over Elche on September 17 after sustaining a thigh injury while on international duty with France.

Barca did not give a timeline for Kounde's comeback, but head coach Xavi indicated earlier this week the centre-back had a chance of featuring against Madrid on Sunday.

And the former Sevilla man was involved in training at Ciutat Esportiva on Thursday to somewhat ease the Catalan giants' injury issues.

As well as being without Kounde, who has started five times for Barca since being officially registered in late August, the likes of Memphis Depay, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Hector Bellerin and Ronald Araujo have also been sidelined.

Xavi's side drew 3-3 draw with Inter on Wednesday to leave their Champions League hopes hanging by a threat, but they are level on points with Madrid at the LaLiga summit after winning seven league games in a row, keeping a clean sheet in six of those.