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PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Carles Puyol was excellent against Zaragoza on Saturday at the Camp Nou. Not only did he score the third of the four Barça goals (min 53), but he played the whole 90 minutes of the game, making it clear that he's improving from the injury problems he's been suffering in recent months. Now, the Barcelona captain is concentrating on the Champions League match away to Milan on Wednesday, a game that, for him, is being played by "two of the best teams in Europe."

In an interview on the Barça TV program El Marcador, Puyol said that the match against the Italian team "is the game we all want to play in... I've always liked Milan. It will be an important game and we hope that all goes well," he said, just before stressing that Barça wil go to the San Siro "with lots of enthusiasm, looking to play our football, and trying to get a good result." At the same time, he warned that Wednesday's opponents "have lots of players who can make a difference" so, FC Barcelona will have to "work really hard to try and win."

Since the game at the Camp Nou against Racing Santander, in January, Puyol has been plagued with injury problems. The most delicate moment, however, was the operation which he was submitted to in June to overcome the tendon problems in his left knee. Today, he says that his knee is okay, and that the discomfort he suffered after the operation was due to something else. "The operation is already forgotten. It has taken some time and it's been tough. When I play games now I don't notice any discomfort. Due the injury I lost all the strength in my leg, and it was impossible to play on. The knee injury has not come back at all, but afterwards I suffered other minor problems, because after eight months out I was not match fit, and at my age...," he said.

Problems after the international break

However, Puyol stressed that he felt "very good" against Zaragoza, and every day he's feeling "better still," but acknowledged that he felt a bit tired towards the end of the match, something he put down to the long trip to Costa Rica with the Spanish National team. "They are long trips, and they affect us all," he said, before adding that "we're always affected when we come back from these long trips with the International Team. We spend lots of days away, the trips are long, we come back a bit tired, for lots of days you're not with your club teammates, and then you only have one or two days to prepare for the games ... but at the same time we know that we can't afford to drop any points," he concluded.

Reunion with Ibrahimovic

Pep Guardiola's team will meet up again with former Barcelona player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in the match against Milan. After acknowledging that he is on good terms with Zlatan and making it very clear that he believes that he couldn't have any complaints about his time at Barça, Puyol is convinced that Ibra will go into the game "highly motivated." He added: "But then again, who doesn't against Barça? There's a lot to play for, and he'll give everything, but in any case, I don't think he can be any more motivated than we are."

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