Busquets happy to welcome Puyol back
Sergio Busquets says having skipper Carles Puyol back in action is good news for Barcelona on and off the pitch.
A severe knee injury means Puyol has not played since March, but the 35-year-old defender has recently returned to training with his teammates and could be included in the squad for Saturday’s La Liga game at Osasuna.
Busquets told reporters before Thursday’s training session at the club's Ciudad Esportiva complex that having their captain around was a big boost for the squad.
“Puyol is our captain, he is very important in the dressing room and on the pitch,” Busquets said. “We are very happy for him. You can see he is close to being fully back with the team. We know he will give everything for us. We are really looking forward to seeing him out on the pitch soon.”
Barca have no reported new injury worries after the international break, with Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano also back in training after recent injuries. Those who had been away would need to quickly refocus to avoid an upset against Osasuna, Busquets said.
“We played a few days ago, and have come back from long journeys,” he said. “But there are no excuses, even if some players are not at 100 percent. Games in Pamplona are always difficult, but we want the three points to continue as leaders.”
A win against Osasuna, and another victory in the following Saturday’s Clasico at home to Real Madrid, would give Barcelona a record ten from ten start to the new Primera Division season.
Busquets said he would be delighted to keep the 100 percent record going, but was more concerned about remaining top at the season’s end, adding: "For that we must win in Pamplona and Madrid. That would give us a bigger gap [over Madrid].
"But records do not assure you trophies at the end of the season. We also have to take into account Atletico [Madrid]."
Barca have often struggled recently at Osasuna’s tight stadium, losing 3-2 two years ago and needing a late Messi double to emerge with a 2-1 win last season.
“It will be a tough game,” Busquets said. “We have suffered at El Sadar in recent seasons. We cannot think about Madrid, or get distracted. A win there will set us up well for the Clasico.”
Saturday’s game begins a spell of seven games in 23 days for Barca. Coach Gerardo Martino will likely keep rotating his key players through those matches -- something Busquets insisted he and his teammates had no problem with.
"These are decisions from the coach which you must respect,” he said. “The season is very long. While the team is winning it is good for everyone.”
The pivote insisted he was not currently troubled by any issues with his groin, but was taking specific measures to avoid a repeat of the problems suffered throughout last season. “I have no discomfort in the groin at the moment,” Busquets said. “I do preventative exercises to avoid that.”