Puyol ready for Clasico but wary of Real Madrid

Madrid, Oct 25 (IANS) FC Barcelona captain Carles Puyol says he doesn't believe that Saturday's Clasico at home to Real Madrid in the Camp Nou Stadium will have much bearing on the final standings of the Spanish Primera Liga title.

Puyol returned to action for Barca last Saturday after seven months out of action with a serious knee injury and the 34-year-old could find himself starting in Saturday's match if Gerard Pique fails to recover from a pelvic injury, reports Xinhua.

"I am grateful for the confidence placed in me, but we have three more central defenders and they are all playing well," said Puyol, who was nevertheless pleased at his return from injury.

"If I feel happy just to train again, imagine how I would feel if I could play the Clasico. I feel good and I have worked well in the last week. I had been worried about how my injury would react and it was a lot better than I expected," he said Thursday.

Barca go into the game with eight wins and just one draw from their opening nine games of the season and the chance to open a six point lead over Real Madrid, but Puyol doesn't believe one game will decide the fate of an entire season.

"We have the chance to play well, but the league is not going to be decided. We have to play well, gain in confidence for the games that lie ahead," he said, although he also admitted that Real Madrid, "are our biggest rival and the result will have big repercussions."

The defender warned that Madrid were always a threat on the break and said the side coached by Carlo Ancelotti were improving with every game.

"We go into the game after failing to win two matches (Osasuna and AC Milan), but we have a lot of confidence and a big desire to win."

The last time the two sides met in the Camp Nou, Real Madrid inflicted a painful 3-1 defeat on a tired Barca in the Copa del Rey and Puyol said playing in front of a packed Camp Nou was not necessarily an advantage.

"The fans can be a help, but in recent years Real Madrid have played very well here and we have to be careful," he said.

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