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Puyol, Pique keen to be fit for Real clash
07:22 AEST Sat Sep 22 2012

Barcelona defenders Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique are desperate to be fit for the October 7 Clasico at home to Real Madrid, Mundo Deportivo and Sport say.

Puyol and Pique have formed a formidable central defensive partnership for Barca and Spain since 2008 but are both injured, to the chagrin of the Barca fans.

Puyol, 34, has twisted the ligaments in his left knee, the latest in a series of injuries that have plagued him in the last two years.

He missed Euro 2012 with a different knee injury.

Pique, 25, badly sprained the ligaments in his left foot at the start of Wednesday's Champions League debut at home to Spartak Moscow and had to limp off, ruining what should have been a special night for him.

Colombian singer Shakira - Pique's girlfriend for two years now - had just announced they were expecting a baby.

Without the towering presence of Pique, Javier Mascherano and newcomer Alex Song looked ill at ease, and Barca needed two late goals from World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi to post a 3-2 win.

Sport reported on Friday Barca coach Tito Vilanova has decided Song should be employed in midfield rather than in defence.

In the next three games - against Granada, Sevilla and Benfica - Vilanova will probably opt for youngster Marc Bartra alongside Mascherano, despite the latter's poor form.

Meanwhile, the coach will be hoping Puyol and Pique are fit for the Clasico.

Barca have won all four of their league games while Real have stuttered and stumbled. The whites are 12th with just four points.


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