A big blow for Spain heading into this summer’s European Championship as Barcelona announced today that Carlos Puyol has a knee injury that requires arthroscopic surgery.
“After tests were conducted it was decided the player would have arthroscopic surgery next Saturday, May 12,” Barcelona said in a statement on their website. “The estimated time he will be out of action is around six weeks.”
Puyol hurt his knee during Saturday’s 4-0 win against Espanyol, and the news that he requires surgery rules how out of the last league game of the season against Real Betis and Pep Guardiola’s final game in charge; the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao on May 25.
If Puyol was to return to action six-weeks from today, it would mean the veteran defender would miss all of Spain’s group games. Spain play Italy on June 10, Republic of Ireland on June 14 and Croatia on June 18, a day before Puyol is scheduled to return.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque, who is due to announce a provisional squad on May 15, is quoted by Marca as saying:
“That’s football, it’s an extremely significant loss for us.
“Quite apart from whether or not it disrupts my plans, he is a charismatic lad and very important (to the team) and was only a step away from making his 100th appearance.”
I cannot see how Del Bosque can include Puyol in his Euro’s squad. It is too big a risk to carry a defender who cannot play in the group stages, and will be short of match fitness by the time the knockout rounds begin.
Puyol has won 99 caps since making his international debut in 2000 and was part of the Spain squad that won Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. If Spain does have a weakness it is in their defence, especially with Puyol out and Pique playing so poorly all season. A loss to Italy in that first game could have Spain scrambling to finish second in their group.
It also appears to Barcelona’s David Villa is losing his battle to return from a broken leg suffered during the FFIFA Club World Cup.
Both injuries are big blows for Spain who are looking to become the first team to win three major tournaments in a row, having won in 2008 and then the World Cup in 2010.