Puyol given all-clear after knee surgery

Barcelona defender Carles Puyol has been given the all-clear following an operation on his right knee in May, the La Liga club said on Monday.

The 34-year-old Spain international had arthroscopic surgery and was ruled out for the final weeks of last season, meaning he missed his nation's triumphant Euro 2012 campaign in Poland and Ukraine.

The news on club captain Puyol coincided with the return to pre-season training of Barca's Spanish internationals Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

The seven passed medicals along with Puyol on Monday and will train with the rest of the squad later, Barca said on their website.

Barca play pre-season friendlies against Paris St Germain, Manchester United and Dinamo Bucharest before hosting Real Sociedad in their opening La Liga match on the weekend of August 18/19.

New signing Jordi Alba, the Spain left-back who sealed a move from Valencia in June, is still in Britain with the Olympic team, whose medal hopes were ended on Sunday when they suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Honduras.