Ansu Fati is set to finally make his Barcelona return when they take on Levante at Camp Nou on Sunday 26 September.
The 18-year-old has endured a nightmare year with injury, undergoing surgery three times in a bid to clear up a troublesome meniscus problem first picked up in November 2020.
Before that night against Real Betis, Fati had quickly established himself as one of the most highly-rated young wingers in Europe, and had started the 2020/21 season with five goals in ten appearances.
But after leaving the field against Betis, the severity of his injury soon became apparent and it was decided he'd go under the knife to amend the issue. The surgical procedure was completed later on November and the initial prognosis was that he would be out for around four months.
Fati has suffered countless setbacks since then - including a nasty knee infection which delayed his progress even further - and after a second operation failed to ease the pain, it was decided that the teenager would need a third, which removed the meniscus in his knee entirely.
Fati has been rehabilitating since and was forced to miss out on a maiden appearance at the European Championships with Spain. He then targeted a return to full pre-season training, but a July report in his homeland revealed that his recovery was again not following the anticipated timeline.
He was tentatively earmarked to return after the summer international break, potentially against Sevilla on 12 September, but that date was eventually pushed back too.
Now, Sport report that Fati is finally nearing a return with the forward set to feature against Levante next Sunday for the first time in 52 games.
Prior to his injury, Fati had been an integral part of Barcelona's side despite his tender years. He then watched on from the sidelines as Lionel Messi fought tooth and nail to get the Catalan giants back into La Liga's title race, but Atletico Madrid ultimately came out on top at the season's end.
Once he returns to action, Fati will no doubt become an important part of the starting XI. Barcelona lost both Messi and Antoine Griezmann in the summer, leaving them short in attacking areas. Martin Braithwaite is also out injured until 2022, while loanee Luuk de Jong is yet to find his feet at the club.