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50-50 Challenge: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

El Clasico 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Mar 4, 2011

Puyol in line for Gunners return

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol is back in training ahead of Saturday's Primera Division match at home to Zaragoza and looks set to be fit to face Arsenal in the teams' Champions League last 16 second leg on Tuesday night.

Puyol has been out since the middle of January with a knee injury and missed the 2-1 defeat at the Emirates earlier this month, but his participation in the second match is all the more important because team-mate Gerard Pique is suspended.

The veteran defender trained normally on Thursday, but is unlikely to be risked against Zargoza. Pique, though, will start at the Camp Nou before making way in the European clash.

The former Manchester United defender has been forced to deal with increased media attention of late, due to his well-publicised relationship with Colombian singer Shakira.

Nevertheless, the 24-year-old says his private life has no bearing on his performances on the pitch.

"Performances do not depend on one's private life,'' he said. Pique says he is devastated to miss the Arsenal game, but believes his central defensive partner Puyol will be available.

"I am totally gutted to miss it, but I'm an optimist and I think Carles will be ready - he still has a few days ahead to get fit,'' he said. "If I had to bet, I would bet that he would be ready for the game against Arsenal.''

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