Mascherano nearing recovery
© AFP

Barcelona central defender Javier Mascherano resumed training today after five weeks on the sidelines with knee ligament damage.

The Argentina international, who sustained the injury in the Champions League clash at Paris Saint-Germain on 2 April, took part in some of today's squad training session, the club website reported.

Pedro Rodriguez, who missed last weekend's 4-2 La Liga win over Real Betis due to gastroenteritis, was also back with the main group ahead of Barça's trip to Atletico Madrid on Sunday night.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who missed the Betis game with a foot problem, worked out separately from the rest of the squad, while defenders Eric Abidal and Carles Puyol also continued with their individual programmes.

Assistant coach Jordi Roura led the training session, with boss Tito Vilanova having returned to New York - where he spent two months earlier this year undergoing cancer treatment - for medical tests.

Barça will be crowned champions tonight if arch rivals Real Madrid fail to beat Malaga. If Jose Mourinho's men triumph at the Bernabeu, and then again at Espanyol on Saturday, victory for Vilanova's side at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday would secure a fourth title in five years for the Catalan club.