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Higuain eyeing return next month

MADRID, March 8 – Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain has made a "dramatic" recovery from the injury he suffered in November and could be fit to play against Barcelona in the Spanish Cup final next month, a Spanish sports daily said Tuesday.

The Argentine international had been expected to be out for the rest of season after undergoing surgery for a slipped disc at a hospital in Chicago on January 11.

Coach Jose "Mourinho is delighted with the effort that Higuain has shown and he knows he can count on him for the Cup final on April 20 and for the ‘clasico’ league match" at Real’s Bernabeu stadium against Barcelona four days earlier, the newspaper AS said.

It said he could even be fit for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals on April 12 or 13, should Real get past Lyon in the last 16.

The striker "has worked in earnest over the last two weeks and has had a dramatic recovery from the slipped disc… In fact, he is expected to be given the all-clear at the end of the month.

"Club doctors are amazed at his progress," it said.

Higuain had already returned to the pitch for some training last week for the first time since he underwent the operation.

The 23-year-old, who normally starts in attack for Real alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, has been unable to play since the end of November because of the injury.

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Real signed Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City in January to provide cover until the end of the season.

Higuain scored 27 league goals for Real last season, making him La Liga’s second-most prolific scorer behind fellow Argentine Lionel Messi of Barcelona.

He joined Real in January 2007 from Argentine side River Plate.

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