Puyol-less Barca to mix it up in El Clasico clash vs. Real Madrid
Barcelona, Spain (4E Sports) – Barcelona is expected to mix it up as they renew their rivalry with Real Madrid in ‘El Clasico’ this weekend following an left elbow injury to long-time captain Carles Puyol during a Champions League win Tuesday night.
Puyol sustained a dislocated elbow in his side’s 2-0 win over Benfica.
Puyol, who had only just returned to the lineup after struggling with a hamstring problem, had to be carted off the field after falling awkwardly in a corner kick challenge, with 15 minutes to play.
The 34-year-old defender was discharged from hospital Wednesday.
Prior to his discharge, Puyol expressed his gratitude to Barca fans and medical personal via his Twitter account: “I want to thank everyone who looked after me in Portugal. I’ll soon be back to my best again! Thank you for all your messages — a big hug to all of you.”
The club said the injury will not probably require surgery, but Puyol is expected to miss the next eight weeks.
It is a huge blow to Tito Vilanova’s Barcelona, who will be missing the on-field leader’s presence of Puyol for some time. Puyol, who is also regarded for his intense commitment and rugged defense, is likely to be out of action until December at the earliest and as well as missing several Primera Division matches.
The Blaugrana are already without defender Gerard Pique because of a foot injury.
Puyol is also ruled out for Sunday’s El Clasico clash with Real Madrid, a key clash in deciding this season’s Liga title race, with less than two months into the new season.
Sunday night’s tilt at Camp Nou will mark the first time that the two teams will collide this season.
Jose Mourinho’s reigning champions Real Madrid currently sit in sixth place, trailing long-time rivals Barcelona, who sit atop the standings, by eight points.