Pep appreciates Milito desire to leave

MADRID - Argentina defender Gabriel Milito looks set to leave Barcelona in the transfer window with a loan move to England or Italy on the cards.

Media reports on Tuesday said the 30-year-old wanted to secure first team football elsewhere to boost his chances of holding his place in the Argentina squad and Barca coach Pep Guardiola said he would not stand in his way.

Asked about the reports, Guardiola told a news conference Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta had explained the situation to him.

"There are decisions that I make or the club makes but this one is exclusively his (Milito's)," he said.

"Knowing him, I understand (his wish to leave)," he added. "But I am not upset. It's impossible to be upset with Gaby.

"Believe me, I have been a player and I put myself in his shoes and I understand it."

Milito rarely starts for the Spanish champions and Guardiola selected Sergio Busquets, who normally plays in midfield, and left-back Eric Abidal to play in central defence at the weekend in the absence of regular starters Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, who were injured and suspended respectively.

Milito has been plagued with injuries in recent years, most recently a thigh muscle problem.