"It's a heavy blow". That's how the Club captain described the news that teammate Eric Abidal will be having a liver transplant within the next few weeks in a press conference today. Puyol insisted however, that the Frenchman is: "in good spirits" and that his attitude has helped lift the rest of the squad: "we are sure he'll come through this and we are giving him all our strength. We'll be by his side and by his family's. I'm convinced that he will be fine again soon".

Puyol explained that the players received the news this morning just before training bega: "just before we went out to start the session, the boss told us the news  - it was an unpleasant surprise. Eric was there with us and afterwards we spoke with him, but what we said will be staying amongst ourselves. It's really him who has lifted us – he's so strong as he showed last season and I'm sure he'll show that again now".

For Puyol: "things like this bring us all even closer together  - the squad is strong and united, as I said, his attitude is an example to us all. It's a heavy blow. We had the same thing last year and we got through – we'll do it again and that will make us stronger"-

Turning to this Saturdays game at the Sánchez Pizjuán, Puyol explained: "we aim to prepare every game and win every week. Seville will be a tough test, but we are really up for it".

Champions League draw

Tomorrow's Champions League draw brought a number of questions for Puyol, who explained he had no particular preference: "every team who is there have made it this far on their own merits – there are no easy rivals in the quarter finals. I honestly don't have any particular preference, let's just wait and see what the draw throws up".

Naturally enough, the press wanted to know what the captain thinks about another possible meeting with Real Madrid and Puyol answered: "it's clear that Real Madrid and Barça are two strong teams in the Champions League, but this competition is always tough and anybody can have an off day. We'll just wait and see what happens in the draw, we don't mind who we play, but if you want to win this title you have to be ready to beat anyone. Playing against Madrid is always complicated, but there are other good teams in the draw too"


Asked about Guardiola's contract renewal, Puyol believes that "the most important thing is to respect his decision. Right now the season is at a crucial point and he is here, that's that. Everyone has their own opinion and I really don't think we should talk any more about it now".

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