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Sergino Dest cleared for Barcelona in crucial Europa League tie

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Barcelona’s quest to continue in the UEFA Europa League will come down to Thursday’s second- leg tie against Eintracht Frankfurt and Xavi Hernandez received a big boost this week with the return of Sergino Dest.

The U.S. men’s national team defender is back in the squad for Thursday’s quarterfinal second leg, ending a one-month spell on the sidelines through injury. Dest hasn’t played since March 17 against Galatasaray, missing the last five matches for Barcelona and the final World Cup Qualifying window with the USMNT.

With Barcelona seeking a Europa League title in Xavi’s first season in charge, the return of Dest is an added boost for the final push of the season.

“He is on the squad list, and definitely has a chance to start,” Xavi said in Wednesday’s press conference. “Same for Memphis [Depay]. It is important that we are starting to get players back, though.

“Dest is an important player for us, for his ability to play on the right and even the left,” Xavi added.

Dest’s versatility has been on display under the former Barcelona legend, featuring as both a left and right back during parts of the season. The 21-year-old has totaled three assists in 27 combined appearances for Barcelona, delivering some of his best moments this season under the longtime Spanish international.

Barcelona is riding a 15-match unbeaten run across all competitions and will be pushing to end its season on a high note. Dest will now have his chance to regain his starting role for Barcelona, while also preparing for a busy rest of 2022 with the USMNT, which includes a return to the Concacaf Nations League this summer and the World Cup in November.

Barcelona sits four points clear in the La Liga top-four race and has eight league matches remaining this season.

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