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Soccer-Barca's injury-prone Dutch winger Afellay declared fit

Reuters

MADRID, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Ibrahim Afellay's battle with a series of injuries over the past two years appeared to be over on Friday after the Barcelona winger was declared fit by club medical staff.

The Netherlands international was out for more than seven months after tearing the cruciate ligament in his left knee in September 2011 and was loaned to Bundesliga side Schalke 04 for the 2012-13 season.

However, he was sidelined again and missed the second half of the campaign before having surgery to correct a leg muscle problem last August.

"Ibrahim Afellay is feeling like a footballer again," Barca said on their website (www.fcbarcelona.es).

"(Coach) Gerardo Martino has already said he likes the way Afellay plays and that he could count on him for what remains of his season," they added.

Afellay, 27, joined Barca from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in January 2011 and has made 33 appearances for the first team, scoring two goals.

His best moment in a Barca shirt came in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid in 2011 when he skipped past fullback Marcelo and crossed for Lionel Messi to score the opening goal in a 2-0 victory at Real's Bernabeu stadium. (Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond)

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