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Puyol Ready For El Clasico

Carles Puyol could start for Barcelona at the weekend, and what a match to make his home return for: El Clasico.

Gerard Pique is reportedly struggling with a hamstring injury, leaving Javier Mascherano- who has also only just recovered from an injury- and youngster Marc Bartra as Barca’s recent regular defenders.

Puyol played in Barca’s draw with Osasuna last weekend, his first start after seven months out with a knee injury, and he says he is ready to play a full game against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou if called upon.

"I feel very good," Puyol said on Thursday.

"I played the 90 minutes in Pamplona and every day I am feeling better. The sensations are good.

“The knee responded better than I thought to the game at El Sadar. If the boss needs me, I am feeling fine."

"They were seven difficult months," Puyol added. "But I am here now. The Clasico is coming and it is a game in which all footballers want to play.

"Madrid always force you to be at your best.

“They are playing better and better each time, and will come here with confidence. We must play well to win. We must keep an eye out for their counter-attacks, they know us perfectly."

Puyol’s recent memories of Los Blancos are not especially good, and he would love nothing more than to exact a measure of revenge on the players who have tormented him, like Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But with the added threat of Gareth Bale, and Real edging towards ominous good form, Barca must be worried that the match against their fiercest rival has come too soon for 35-year-old defensive warrior Puyol.

It could be that Barca boss ‘Tata’ Martino opts for Bartra and Mascherano in defence, both of whom have more running in their legs than Puyol.

And if that is the case, the Blaugrana’s veteran skipper says he would have confidence in his team’s defence.

"[Mascherano] has been playing centre-half for three years, at a really high level. He plays better at centre-half than in midfield," he said.

"I have always had a lot of confidence in Marc.

"When sometimes names come out in the press, many of them are not above the level of Bartra, Masche or Gerard. He is ready to play for Barcelona. Now everyone is learning that. We have a centre-half who can play here for many years."

Vote: Which defenders do you think Barca need to stop Real Madrid in El Clasico?

Read: Barca Stars Come Home Unscathed

Watch: Di Maria Devastates Puyol

Puyol Nearly Ready. Messi, Neymar Fine

Another Blow For Carles Puyol

Puyol Out After Knee Surgery

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