Puyol to miss Celtic and Real games
Soccer:Barcelona captain Carles Puyol will miss the Champions League double-header with Celtic and Sunday's Clasico clash with Real Madrid after being ruled out for around eight weeks with a dislocated left elbow sustained in the win over Benfica last night.
The 34-year-old defender, who had only just returned to the side from a hamstring problem, landed awkwardly 15 minutes from the end of the 2-0 Champions League victory and was carried off on a stretcher in obvious discomfort.
He was allowed to fly back to Barcelona with his team-mates following initial treatment before spending the night in a local hospital, where tests carried out this morning confirmed the dislocation.
A statement on www.fcbarcelona.com read: “The club captain will undergo conservative treatment and is expected to be out for about eight weeks.”
Puyol was discharged from hospital today following visits from club president Sandro Rosell and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta. Before his release, the player sent a message of gratitude to fans and medics from his Twitter account.
“We are back in Barcelona,” Puyol said. “I want to thank everyone who looked after me in Portugal. I’ll soon be back to my best again! Thank you for all your messages. A big hug to all of you.”
Despite Puyol’s optimism, the news of his eight-week lay-off comes as a blow to coach Tito Vilanova, who is already without fellow defender Gerard Pique because of a foot injury.
With Barca facing Real Madrid this weekend, Puyol’s injury could not have come at a worse time although Vilanova is hopeful the team can patch up the gaps in their back-line.
“I’ve always said it, we’ve always had problems with our central defenders, but we’ll move forward,” he said. “It’s not just that we’ve lost Puyol for the Clasico on Sunday, but we’ve lost him for other matches as well. The injuries mean we will have to play players in positions that aren’t their own, but we’ll use our youth players \[to cover the absences], that’s why we have them.”
After their historic 3-2 away win over Spartak Moscow last night, Celtic will be further buoyed by the news Puyol will be absent when sides meet in the Catalan capital on October 23rd and again back in Glasgow on November 7th.