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Full squad training resumes in Spain ahead of soccer restart

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In this photo provided by Atletico Madrid, team players take part in the first group training session in Madrid, Spain, Monday May 18, 2020. All Spanish league clubs can begin group training sessions this week despite stricter lockdown restrictions remaining in place in parts of Spain because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Atletico de Madrid via AP)

MADRID – Spanish clubs resumed full squad training on Monday, beginning the final stage of preparations for the return to competition.

Clubs will have just under two weeks of full sessions before the league restarts on June 11, almost three months after it was halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Training was only previously allowed with groups of up to 14 players. Clubs began individual sessions a few weeks ago and had been gradually increasing their workload.

On Monday, Barcelona showed an image of coach Quique Setién surrounded by the entire squad in training, along with the message “Together Again", and a video of Lionel Messi scoring a goal.

Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid also showed their players training in full groups.

The resumption of normal training comes a day after the league confirmed the dates and times of the first two rounds of matches following its suspension in mid-March. The first game will be the derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on June 11.

Leader Barcelona will resume at Mallorca on June 13, with Atlético visiting Athletic Bilbao on June 14 and Real Madrid hosting Eibar. The derby between Valencia and Levante will be played on June 12.

“It's been unusual preparation, with the players not being allowed to be together,” Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernández told league broadcaster Movistar late Sunday. “The team has been practicing well and with a lot of confidence. We want to be at 100% when we start, and right now we are at about 95%.”