Barcelona's Iniesta, Dembele, Rafinha and Mascherano heading for returns

Andres Iniesta, Ousmane Dembele, Rafinha and Javier Mascherano all trained on Friday as Barcelona's injury problems began to ease.

The four were involved in the first part of the training session ahead of Sunday's trip to Villarreal.

However, only Iniesta is likely to be passed fit for the game at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

He was taken off with a calf injury in last weekend's draw with Celta Vigo and sat out the midweek win over Sporting Lisbon, but should be available this weekend.

Dembele was involved for the second time this week after rupturing a tendon in September.

The France international is eager to return as soon as possible and has targeted involvement in the Clasico against Real Madrid on Dec. 23.

However, coach Ernesto Valverde has urged caution and said several times that he will not take risks with the club's record signing.

Meanwhile, Rafinha trained with his teammates for the first time since April following two operations on a torn meniscus and should be back in action in the New Year.

Mascherano has been sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring problem picked up while on duty with Argentina but could be back for next weekend's trip to Deportivo La Coruna.

That would mean he is available for the Clasico -- a much-needed boost for Valverde, who currently has only Thomas Vermaelen and Gerard Pique available in the middle of defence after Samuel Umtiti was ruled out for two months.

However, Mascherano is still reported to be keen to push through a move to China in January, with Hebei China Fortune and Tianjin Quanjian reported to have made offers.

"A while ago I told the club about the situation I was going through -- it's not anyone's fault, it's just the reality," Mascherano told TyC Sports on Thursday.

"It's clear that I have lost my importance in the team in recent seasons. I want to find somewhere where I feel important in what I do. My destination has to be a place where I feel important.

"What concerns me the most is that in the last 11 months I have had five muscle injuries, which I think is [because of] a lack of continuity."