Puyol seriously considered retiring last season due to ongoing knee problems. After a difficult summer of recovery work the, defender, 35, has recently begun light training, but is not expected to play for the first team for some weeks yet.
Asked by reporters why the club had not tried harder to sign a new centre-half this summer at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the former blaugrana goalkeeper dubbed him their “summer signing”.
“With 24 hours left before the summer transfer window ended, Puyol came out to train,” Zubizarreta said. “Puyol is our summer signing. His recovery is going very positively so we have included him in our considerations for the immediate future of the squad. We are working on the idea of him returning after the international break. We are reasonably optimistic. Puyol has gone through a difficult patch and that says a lot for him.”
Pressed on the issue by sceptical reporters who had written all summer about Barca’s potential moves for David Luiz and Daniel Agger, Zubizarreta repeated another previous claim. It was difficult to find the right defender for the club’s unique style of play and he had not wanted to pay over the top for the wrong player, he maintained.
“Throughout Barca’s history, centre-backs have always been difficult to sign” Zubizarreta said. “Nobody has told me that any deals could not be made for financial reasons. But whenever you try to make deals you reach a point when you feel a player is only worth so much and no more.”
Sorry Zubizarreta but Puyol is not the answer. Yes he was a great defender, but the emphasis there is was. He has spent much of the last three seasons injured and is a shadow of the player he was. Real Madrid just added another striker with blazing speed in Gareth Bale. Can Puyol keep up with Bale and Ronaldo? I don’t think so.
Barcelona’s defensive weaknesses were exposed for all to see by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals last season. I cannot believe that as we head into another Champions League campaign that Barcelona has not done anything to strengthen its defense.