Updates from Monday, Jan. 27
Carles Puyol appears ready to return to the Barcelona first-team after he reported for training on Monday.
Barca's next league game is at home to Valencia on Saturday, and the club's official Twitter feed noted:
Iniesta and Puyol train with the rest of the squad http://t.co/P1nTosynG0— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 27, 2014
Barcelona defender Carles Puyol is a doubt for the club's Sunday, Jan. 26, La Liga game against Malaga after limping off with an injury during the 4-1 Copa del Rey victory over Levante on Wednesday evening, Jan. 22.
A report on Barca's official website confirmed that the injury was just bruising but that the veteran defender may not return in time for this weekend's game.
Puyol, 35, was replaced by Javier Mascherano during the contest, a solid replacement who has plenty of experience playing that position and will likely deputise against Malaga.
Mascherano has grown used to filling in for Puyol as the player becomes steadily more and more injury prone.
The World Cup winner and two-time European champion with Spain missed the end of last season and the beginning of this campaign after knee surgery. Per ESPN FC, he has made only three starts in La Liga this term.
As reported by FIFA, Puyol had to deny reports that he was considering retirement in the summer, after only signing a new contract tying him to the club until 2016 in January 2013.
Puyol picked up the injury making last-ditch block having been caught wrong side. After being at fault for Levante goal. Wasnt a good night.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 23, 2014
Barcelona have had trouble finding a suitable replacement for Puyol so have kept him on the books, using him on the occasions he is fit. However, his lack of fitness is a problem that is becoming more pressing with every new knock he picks up.
Although he is an inspirational leader for what he has achieved at the club—six La Liga titles and three Champions League wins—it is coming close to a point where he could be considered a liability.
Spanish football expert Dermot Corrigan reported that Puyol picked up the injury after being caught out of position:
After the signing of Neymar last summer, the club's attacking prospects have been strengthened sufficiently for the time being. Coach Gerardo Martino must now look to bring in some defensive reinforcements alongside Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra so that the club does not have to lean on Puyol.