Barcelona FC captain Carles Puyol has insisted he is ready to face Real Madrid in Saturday’s El Clasico should coach Gerardo Martino call on him.
Puyol made his comeback after seven months injury layoff in last weekend’s goalless draw with Osasuna, playing the whole of 90 minutes without any injury scare or sign of relapse.
He was later excluded from Martino’s starting lineup on Tuesday against AC Milan at the San Siro in the Uefa Champions League. Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano were selected ahead of the veteran.
But with Pique struggling with a hamstring injury and facing a race to be fit for the weekend La Liga headliner against Real Madrid, Puyol is preparing for his first appearance at the Cam Nou since March.
“Just to return to training with my teammates and be feeling good is a great joy for me so imagine what it would be like to be involved in a Clasico,” the 35-year-old Spain and Catalonia defender said.
“It is a game that everyone wants to play in, I just have to prepare myself and wait to see what the manager decides.
“During Osasuna game I felt very good sensations.
“Afterwards, I had my doubts as to how the knee would react, but in the recovery everything went well.”
Barca maintains a three-point lead over arch rivals Real and victory for the Catalans on Saturday would extend the lead, which the new ‘Los Blacos’ coach Carlo Ancelotti would not welcome at this stage.
However, Puyol feels it is too early to call with 28 rounds of matches left.
“There is a long way to go and the league will not be resolved in the Clasico, but it is a good match to gain confidence.
“People speak about the game a huge amount before, after they analyse everything, but in the end it is another game of football with three points up for grabs.
“Madrid is always a team that demands the most of you. They have great players and they arrive with confidence,” Puyol added.