Tata Martino has remarked at the enthusiasm he sees in Carles Puyol returning to the Barcelona matchday squad.
The veteran has today been named in his first Barca squad in seven months, including in an 18-man selection to travel out to Osasuna tomorrow.
“For all there is great joy and more so for him. The last few days were anxious, as I saw that he was close,” reflected Martino to reporters today.
“If I have selected him then it is because I believe he can play. Then we will see if he participates or not, but it will be suitable for everyone.
“He has been very excited to be back with the team. And that, for someone with his career, gives me great enthusiasm.
“And Messi’s return? When we call a player it is for them to play. He is on the list to play, even with other things to come.”
The Argentine made clear that he will have his players fully focused on this weekend’s test, even as games with Milan and Real Madrid in the coming week are already catching the eye.
“When there are such important games ahead and when you are returning from an international break, that first game is essential.
“They are the games that can determine the future. We are very focused on Osasuna, the Sadar is a very difficult stadium. Only after that will we think about Milan.
“I expect an aggressive Osasuna, strengthened after winning in Malaga. That could be a turning points.
“They will try hard to pressure us so as to stop us from playing.
“The line-up that I select will be the best I believe for that game. I do not want to take the game out of focus. There are 13 to 14 players that have just returned, as tired mentally as they are physically.
“Pique’s absence from the squad? He has had discomfort but returned to us better. There are no injuries and he is out for fatigue only.
“He had discomfort between the groin and thigh, it dragged against Valladolid but he played the game.
“Against Belarus we saw him again troubled, but then, after playing against Georgia, he said he was better. He could have played tomorrow no problem.”