Barcelona’s Puyol plays 1st game in 7 months

Barcelona defender Carles Puyol made his first appearance in

seven months following knee surgery in a 0-0 draw at Osasuna on

Saturday.

The 35-year-old Spain international was included in Barcelona’s

starting lineup after being cleared by team doctors this week.

Puyol’s last appearance came on March 12 of last season. He has

missed 27 matches for the Spanish champions since.

He played the full 90 minutes alongside youngster Marc Bartra in

the center of the defense. It was the first time the two had played

together.

Puyol, Barcelona’s captain, said he felt good after the

match.

”I have been training for a number of days with the team,” he

said. ”Each day I feel better. (These last months) have been hard.

But that’s over. Now the good part comes.

”We have to fight for all our goals this season and we need all

of us available to do so.”

On Tuesday, Barcelona visits AC Milan in the Champions League

before hosting Real Madrid in the season’s first clasico next

weekend.

Puyol will now be hoping to recover his spot on Spain’s national

team for the 2014 World Cup.