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Martino ‘surprised’ by Puyol retirement talk

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Ronaldo: Puyol is the Hierro of Barcelona
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Ronaldo: Puyol is the Hierro of Barcelona

Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino has admitted that suggestions captain Carles Puyol is considering retirement have come as a surprise to him.

Reports in Spain have claimed the defender is contemplating either retiring or moving to a lower level of football at the end of the season due to his problems with a knee injury.

But when asked about the subject at a press conference, Martino insists he has not held any discussions with the 35-year-old defender over his future.

"It is a surprise to me because Puyol has not spoken to me about that," he told reporters.

"All I can say is I have seen him training normally and putting in the required effort during training. He has not said anything to me so it would be a little unfair for me to clarify something that has not been discussed."

Despite being 4-1 up against Cartagena heading into the second leg of their Copa del Rey tie at Camp Nou, Martino has named a strong Barca squad.

Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Puyol are all included in a 16-man roster for the game, with no space for any of the club’s B team players.

Martino continued: "You always have to play with the greatest level of respect for your opponents.

"My first choice is always to use players within the first team and – to be clear - this decision was taken before the B team lost against Murcia.

"Our last three games have been played at a very high level. We have obviously shown a big improvement and that was our objective after the two defeats."

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