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Puyol 'will be back for pre-season'

Barcelona doctor Ricard Pruna has said Carles Puyol's latest knee operation should not prevent him from being back for pre-season training.

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The 35-year-old defender's injury nightmare continued as he cut short a holiday in New York to undergo an operation on Wednesday.

The surgery was carried out to remove a cyst from the same knee that caused him problems throughout most of the 2012-13 season.

In May, Spain international Puyol said he was considering retirement if the problem did not clear up, and news of another operation was greeted with alarm by Barcelona fans.

However, Pruna told reporters at the Camp Nou that the player should be able to begin pre-season with his team-mates in less than a month.

"The 'Baker's Cyst' was removed from his right knee, a knee which had already suffered two surgeries [this year]," Pruna told AS.

"The first went very well, the second was to clean out the zone. But three months later, Puyol told us he still had problems. He saw the pre-season was coming close and the recovery was not going as well as he wanted.

"We decided to remove the cyst, which was stopping him from flexing and stretching the leg. The operation took 35 minutes and, in principle, he will go home this evening.

"The first week is for curing the wound, and with all the discomfort overcome he will take three or four weeks to return. The idea is for him to be at pre-season for July 15-16."

Pruna rejected suggestions that Puyol's knee problem was chronic. The Barcelona captain managed 22 matches last season, often playing through pain, but has not played an official match since March 12.

In late May, the defender called a press conference at which he said: "I did think about having to retire from football.

"I do not know if I could go through another year like this. This injury is behind me now, I am very positive and not thinking about a recurrence... [but] if the problems continue and I cannot train well, I will have to leave it."

Puyol recently signed a new Barca contract until June 2016, but said he had told club president Sandro Rosell the deal could be renounced should he be unable to play on.

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