News From Spain: La Masia graduate set to end 16-year wait to face Barcelona

Barcelona’s La Liga fixture against Villarreal on Sunday evening is a big one of both sides. Xavi Hernandez’s side can move 11 points clear at the top of the table with a victory, while three points for the Yellow Submarine could see them rise to fifth.

The match is sure to be an intriguing one, and it will be a special one for Villarreal goalkeeper Pepe Reina. The 40-year-old starting his professional career 14 years ago at Barca, and he came through the famous La Masia academy, having joined initially as a teenager in 1995.

Reina left Barcelona to join Villarreal for his first spell at the club in 2002, and the veteran returned last summer having left Serie A side Lazio. That ended a 17-year stint away from the club, as he originally left to join Premier League giants Liverpool in 2005.

Reina last played against Barcelona for The Reds in a Champions League game in 2007, but is set to end a 16-year wait to face his first professional club on Sunday, having taken over as number one under Quique Setien following the departure of Geronimo Rulli to Ajax.

Reina has been on the winning side four times in his career against Barcelona, and the Villarreal stopper will hope to make it five when the two teams meet on Sunday.