By FRANCO PANIZO
Barcelona has endured its share of injury problems this season, but the Spanish heavyweights are one step closer to full health after Carles Puyol was cleared to make his return for the club.
Puyol has been given the green light to play in Barcelona’s weekend match against Real Zaragoza, and the match may mark the first time this campaign that manager Tito Vilanova will be able to deploy his first-choice back line. Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Dani Alves are the other starting defenders.
Puyol has made a full recovery from the gruesome arm injury that looked like it might keep him out for much longer. The Spanish defender has managed to return in just six weeks.
Here are more stories from around the world of soccer to get your Friday rolling:
TERRY SIDELINED THREE WEEKS
John Terry may have escaped a serious injury, but he will still spend some time on the sidelines.
Terry has been ruled out for approximately three weeks with the right knee injury he sustained in this past weekend’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool. Scans on the knock revealed an MCL strain, which is not as severe a diagnosis as was initially feared when the Chelsea captain had to be stretchered off the field on Sunday.
The injury will force Terry to miss next week’s important UEFA Champions League group match against Juventus, as well as league games versus West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City.
IBRAHIMOVIC WONDER GOAL TOO LATE TO BE ADDED
If you were hoping to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s recent wonder goal added to the list of candidates up for best goal of 2012, you have a bone to pick with FIFA. The world’s governing body of soccer ruled that Ibrahimovic’s overhead kick goal from 25 yards out against England on Wednesday will not be up for the award, as it happened too late in the year to be nominated. FIFA said it can be selected for the 2013 Puskas Award.
PACHUCA FIRES HUGO SANCHEZ
It did not take long for Hugo Sanchez to be shown the door at Pachuca. Sanchez was fired as head coach of the club on Thursday, a mere six months after taking the job, for failing to get Pachuca into the Liga MX playoffs. Former player Gabriel Caballero will take Sanchez’s place.
How do you see Chelsea faring without Terry? Expecting Barcelona’s back line to pitch a shutout this weekend? Disappointed that Ibrahimovic’s goal will not be added to list of 2012 candidates?
Share your thoughts below.