Spain defender Carles Puyol will
almost certainly miss Euro 2012 after he sustained an injury to
his right knee that his club Barcelona said requires
arthroscopic surgery and will sideline him for around six weeks.
The shaggy-haired centre-back damaged the knee in Saturday's
La Liga match at home to Espanyol and will have the operation
next Saturday, Barca said in a statement on their website
"The estimated time he will be out of action is around six
weeks," the statement said, adding that the talismanic club
captain would be unavailable for the King's Cup final against
Athletic Bilbao on May 25.
The loss of the highly-respected Puyol will be a major blow
to the world and European champions, who begin the defence of
their continental title against Italy on June 10.
The 34-year-old has been a reliable presence in the Spanish
back line for more than a decade, making 99 appearances for his
country and scoring the winning goal in the 1-0 semi-final
victory against Germany at the 2010 World Cup.
"That's football, it's an extremely significant loss for
us," coach Vicente del Bosque was quoted as saying in Marca
"Quite apart from whether or not it disrupts my plans, he is
a charismatic lad and very important [to the team] and was only
a step away from making his 100th appearance," Del Bosque added.
"He has been on great form, it's a shame."
Puyol's absence will likely mean that Del Bosque deploys
Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos alongside Barca's Gerard Pique in
central defence, with Javi Martinez of Athletic Bilbao another
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