BARCELONA: Spain captain Carles Puyol said Wednesday impending knee surgery should rule him out of the Euro 2012 squad but he is not ready to end his international career.
The 34-year-old, long-haired Barcelona defender, whose header famously took Spain into the final of their victorious 2010 World Cup campaign, said he expects to face the surgeon's knife on Saturday.
Asked if he could still join the Euro squad, he told a news conference: “It would be very difficult. Those who are fittest have to go. It would be unfair to take a player who is not at 100 percent.” Puyol is to undergo knee arthroscopy, in which a tiny camera is inserted through small incisions and damaged tissue can be repaired or removed. He faces a six-week recovery.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has said he will release a provisional line-up for the team going to Poland and Ukraine on May 15 and a definitive list on May 27.
Spain, who are defending their European title, play their first game on June 10 against Italy.
Puyol, who has 99 caps for Spain, does not seem ready to end his playing days with the national squad.
“My plan is to carry on for many more years. But you have to take it season by season. We will see how I am at the start of the next season. But I am convinced I will come back fine, perfectly fit,” he said.
Puyol said he could not say if the Euro 2008 campaign was his last in the competition.
“I don't now if it was my last European Championship. But I want to retire on the field and not in the operating room,” he added.
“On Saturday I will go into the operating theatre and on Sunday I will start working on my recovery.”