Puyol sidelined for up to three months

Spain and Barcelona defender Carles Puyol will be out of action for two to three months after undergoing surgery on his knee today, the club said.

"Puyol has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to remove cartilage," Barcelona said in a statement on its website. "He should be discharged from the clinic on Thursday and it will about two or three months before he can play again."

Puyol had to miss the UEFA Champions League last-16 return match against Arsenal in early March and only returned in mid-April to face Real Madrid only to suffer further injury.

The 33-year-old club stalwart, three times a Champions League winner, did feature against Real in the Champions League semi-finals, but started the 3-1 win in the final over Manchester United on the bench and played just the final three minutes.

Ricard Pruna, one of the surgeons at Barcelona's Quiron clinic who carried out the operation, said Puyol probably suffered the injury four months ago and it had gone through several phases.

"It started with a bad bruise to the knee. We suspect it was in the Barcelona-Malaga match in late January," he told a news conference.