Carles Puyol has reflected that a continuation of his injury struggles may force him to end dreams of playing for Barcelona into his 40s.
The captain has struggled through 2012-13 with a serious of injuries and saw his campaign ended during the March international break when he underwent knee surgery.
Puyol, who recently signed a new contract at Barca until June 2016, was rumoured during his absence from the field to be considering a move to Milan.
However, in addressing the media today, the 35-year-old has explained his situation and his ambition to stay at the Camp Nou, so long as his fitness prevails.
“The club was always informed of everything. My intention is to be ready for when the official games begin next season,” Puyol told reporters at an evening Press conference.
“I never considered going to Milan. I want to stay with Barca. My idea is to continue here. I have three years left on this contract and if I can, I will prolong that further.
“I have always said that I want to play until my 40s, but if I still have discomfort then I will have to stop.
“If I am not right, I will not fulfil my contract, I will go, I will thank everyone and leave. I am trying to return as soon as possible, the knee rules the decision.
“I was told that I would be out for four weeks, but after four weeks I could not walk. I have had to keep working until now, where I feel better.
“Many things have been said that are not true. It's my fault. If I'd spoken on the week I decided to do the operation there wouldn't be a problem. I regret not having had it before. I was advised and ignored it.
“Why haven’t I spoken sooner? Two reasons. When you are injured you want to focus on the recovery. There was a time when I wanted to appear but it was the week that Tito returned and it was better to talk about that good news and not surgery.
“And also I thought I could have recovered but things have not gone as I wanted.
“In theory this is an injury that is now recovered. It could happen again. There is much physical contact and I receive many knocks. In time, it will recover, I am very positive.
“What I hope for is to be 100 per cent for next season. If the symptoms continue and do not allow me to train normally, then I will have to leave.
“Yesterday was a tough day [Eric Abidal announcing his departure], emotional. Eric is an example to follow. I want to thank him for everything he has taught us.”
Puyol was asked if his international career was at an end.
“On from surgery last year I didn’t know if the knee would hold. It was very hard. On from the operation and the discomfort, and every game was a new injury.
“We’ll see next year. Hopefully I will be well, better. Now is not the time to talk about La Seleccion. I’ll see how things are next year.
“If I can, or not, and if the Coach wants me to continue.”