Spain defender Carles Puyol out of Euro 2012
Barcelona and Spain defender Carles Puyol has been ruled out of Euro 2012 with a knee injury.
Puyol, 34, played in just four of Spain’s qualifying matches, and started only three times. However, the Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 winner was expected to start at centre-back for Spain at next month’s European Championships. He has been a member of the Spanish squad for the last five major tournaments, and was due to win his 100th cap in one of Spain’s warm-up friendlies before Euro 2012.
Despite facing six weeks on the sidelines, Puyol has ruled out international retirement. “The rumours that I will retire from the national team? I want to retire on the pitch, not in the operating room,” Puyol told reporters earlier today. “I was looking forward to playing my 100th game for Spain and to be at Euro 2012. I think it will very difficult to make the tournament, though. Looking at the recovery time needed, it’s impossible.
“However, I’m in good spirits. These things happen, although it’s at a bad moment. I’m looking forward to starting the recovery process after the surgery. I want to go on for many more years. I always say five or six. I will take care of myself. If I can make my 100th appearance for Spain later on, that’s fine too.”
Puyol’s injury means Spain will move Sergio Ramos into the centre, and will likely start with a back four of Joan Capdevilla, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa. Spain boss Vincente Del Bosque gave Jordi Alba his debut at left-back at the end of qualifying, so he could possibly force Capdevilla out of the starting lineup.
Puyol’s international boss told Spanish journalists that he was disappointed to lose the defender so close to the finals. “This is a big setback,” Del Bosque said. “He will be missed, not just for what he brings to the team on the pitch but also for what he brings to the group off it. It is a pity too for Carles that it has happened when he is so close to making his 100th appearance. It looked like providing a great finale to his season because he has been playing well and he is a fixture in the team but I hope that he can still make it to this landmark.”
Del Bosque also has concerns over the fitness of 30-year-old Barcelona striker David Villa. Villa is currently recovering from a broken leg, and the Spanish management team are unsure if he will be fit in time for the European Championships. “He is a serious doubt,” Del Bosque admitted. “We are very worried. It is very complicated now to see David being at the European championships.”
However, Spanish fitness coach Javier Minano is more positive than Del Bosque. “Villa will need to train with the group and continue to improve,” Minano told ABC.es. We saw him a few days ago, we saw that he is recovering at the normal pace. I am optimistic.”
Del Bosque is due to name the preliminary Spain squad on May 17th, but will not name a final 23 player selection until May 27th, two days after David Villa’s Barcelona meet Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final.