Saturday, February 24, 2024

Puyol rules himself out of Euro

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BARCELONA: Spain defender Carles Puyol said Wednesday impending knee surgery will rule him out of the Euro 2012 squad but he is not ready to end his international career.

The 34-year-old Barcelona captain, whose header against Germany famously took Spain into the final of a victorious 2010 World Cup campaign, said he expects to undergo the operation on Saturday.

Asked if he could still join the Euro squad, he told a news conference: “It would be very difficult. Those who are fittest have to go. It would be unfair to take a player who is not at 100 percent.” Puyol said he would have to wait to see how the operation goes: “But I think it is impossible.”

The long-haired defender is to undergo a knee arthroscopy, in which a tiny camera is inserted through small incisions and damaged tissue can be repaired or removed. He faces a six-week recovery. Spain captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas said Puyol’s injury and likely absence from the squad was a “major setback” but he said Spain could still win Euro 2012.

“Puyol is a very important player, especially because of the charisma that he has with other players,” the Real player told reporters in Madrid.

Asked about Spain’s chances at the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, Casillas said he believed the squad could retain their Euro title.

Puyol’s absence will be keenly felt in the Spain squad, already hit by doubts over his Barcelona team-mate, striker David Villa, who broke his leg December 15 in Barcelona’s Club World Cup semi-final win over Al Sadd. (Agencies)

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