Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has insisted he is ready to face Real Madrid on Saturday should he be selected by Gerardo Martino, despite playing just one game since returning from knee surgery.
Puyol made his comeback after seven months out in the 0-0 draw with Osasuna last weekend and completed the 90 minutes without any physical problems. Martino reverted to his tried and trusted central defensive partnership of Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano for the 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw with AC Milan on Tuesday.
However, with Pique struggling with a hamstring strain, Puyol is readying himself to make his first appearance at the Camp Nou since March. "Just to return to training with my team-mates and be feeling good is a great joy for me so imagine what it would be like to be involved in a Clásico," he said.
"It is a game that everyone wants to play in, I just have to prepare myself and wait to see what the manager decides. During the Osasuna game I felt very good sensations. Afterwards, I had my doubts as to how the knee would react, but in the recovery sessions everything went well."
With Barça already holding a three point advantage over Real at the top of La Liga, a win for the Catalans would be a serious blow to Madrid's title hopes. However, Puyol insists that nothing will be decided on Saturday with 28 league games still to come.
"There is a long way to go and the league will not be resolved in the Clásico, but it is a good match to gain confidence. People speak about the game a huge amount before, after they analyse everything, but in the end it is another game of football with three points up for grabs.
"Madrid is always a team that demands the most of you. They have great players and they arrive with confidence."