Masked Puyol could feature in Super Cup

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol could play a part in Wednesday's Spanish Super Cup second leg at Real Madrid despite a fractured cheekbone but will have to wear a protective mask, coach Tito Vilanova said on Tuesday.

Central defender Puyol, who sustained the injury in Sunday's 2-1 La Liga win at Osasuna, trained with his team-mates on Tuesday and Vilanova said a decision on his availability would be taken on Wednesday.

"Today he trained but avoided any contact," Vilanova told a news conference previewing the Super Cup showdown, in which Barca will start with a 3-2 advantage from last week's first leg at the Nou Camp.

"Tomorrow we'll see how he is feeling and make a decision," he added.

"If the doctors say there is the slightest risk he won't play. We won't take any risks with Carles."

Barca also said on Tuesday that their Netherlands midfielder Ibrahim Afellay had asked to be excused from the trip to the Spanish capital so he can resolve his future.

Afellay had surgery on damaged knee ligaments in October and although he recovered to join the Netherlands squad for Euro 2012, it has become clear that he will struggle to win a regular place in Vilanova's side.

Spanish media have linked the 26-year-old with a possible loan move to Premier League side Liverpool or a Serie A team.


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