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Elbow injury sends Puyol back to Barça sidelines

Carles Puyol's dislocated elbow has left FC Barcelona short of defensive options ahead of their weekend encounter at home to Liga champions Real Madrid CF.

Barcelona's Carles Puyol is carried off after dislocating his elbow against Benfica
Barcelona's Carles Puyol is carried off after dislocating his elbow against Benfica ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Barcelona have confirmed that defender Carles Puyol will be out of action for up to eight weeks after the Blaugrana captain suffered a dislocated elbow during his team's UEFA Champions League victory away to SL Benfica.

The 34-year-old was taken to a Lisbon hospital shortly after landing awkwardly on his left arm in the closing stages of Barcelona's 2-0 win at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on Tuesday night. He travelled back to Spain with the rest of his team-mates and after undergoing further tests at club headquarters, was told he was facing into a two-month recovery period.

The news represents yet another blow to Puyol whose appearance against Benfica marked his return from almost three weeks out with a knee ligament injury. The Spanish international sustained a broken cheekbone earlier this season while exploratory knee surgery caused him to miss his country's UEFA EURO 2012 success during the summer.

With centre-back Gerard Piqué already in the Barcelona treatment room with a sprained ankle, coach Tito Vilanova admitted Puyol's injury had come at an inopportune time with Sunday's visit of Real Madrid CF approaching. "I didn't realise the gravity of the situation until I saw the reaction of the rest of my players," Vilanova said. "This is a blow for us because Carles is a very important player. It means we'll have to give more on-field time to others who need a break but we'll get through it."

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