Carles Puyol returns to action for Barcelona
Carles Puyol, who is still seen as the heart of Barcelona’s defense, has returned to the field following an untimely three-month injury. The coveted center back started his preseason training with Barcelona yesterday after he was cleared for minor practice sessions by the club’s medical team.
The 34-year-old Spain international had torn ligaments and damaged cartilage in his knee because of a collision in May. The injury forced Carles Puyol to retire for the rest from La Liga and Champions League for the rest of the season.
Barcelona missed their veteran center back, who is also known for leading attacks, near to the end of the season. Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola replaced Carles Puyol with former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano.
The Argentina international Javier Mascherano proved to be a good fit for Carles Puyol. Javier Mascherano’s defensive skills and smooth passing made him a candidate for Barcelona’s center back position.
Just a couple of weeks ago Javier Mascherano that he was starting to like his new role at Barcelona and saw himself being featured more as a center back in the future. By the looks of it Javier Mascherano will be Barcelona’s new center back this season.
Carles Puyol won’t mind being benched. The aging defender is suffering from tendonitis, which is why he has been playing in only important matches for Barcelona.
Carles Puyol has made frequent visits to Barcelona’s medical team since 2007. Nonetheless, the star defender has worked hard to regain fitness and return to the first team. However, tendonitis becomes increasingly difficult to deal with as time passes. Therefore, Carles Puyol could retire at the end of this or the next season.
For now Carles Puyol is concentrating on being fit for action when La Liga reopens on August 18. The Catalan giants hope to recapture the La Liga title from their archrivals Real Madrid. Pep Guardiola believes Carles Puyol is one of the keys to defeat Real Madrid.
However, Pep Guardiola no longer reins over Nou Camp. His successor Tito Vilanova is expected to bring changes to Barcelona. Well, the squad would mostly remain the same and tiki taka would be in play too. Nonetheless, Tito Vilanova will shuffle the squad and his team selection will bring a new face to Barcelona.
Carles Puyol, who has been playing for Barcelona since 1999, is once again expected to feature in important games for the club. The Barcelona-bred player has already extended his contract with the club for a further two years.