Sunday 17 December 2017

Puyol given all clear for Barca return

Paul Logothetis

Spanish clubs who are disputing a domestic league TV revenue sharing system that heavily favours Barcelona and Real Madrid have agreed to honour the current deal and include Spain's big two in its next meeting.

Representatives from a dozen top-flight clubs gathered at Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan stadium this week to discuss means of improving its share of revenues with Spanish champion Barcelona and Madrid pulling in half of the TV money for a combined €250m.

The Spanish giants were not invited to the meeting, but that will change with the next gathering in "two to three weeks",' Sevilla president Jose Maria Del Nido said.

"Since Madrid and Barcelona don't have the same problems or objectives as the rest, we didn't think they should participate in this first meeting,'' Del Nido said. "But we've already agreed that in future meetings they should be present.''

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol, meanwhile, has been given the all-clear by medical staff and included in the squad for today's match at Real Sociedad.

The Spaniard has not played since undergoing knee surgery in June and his return is a welcome news for coach Pep Guardiola, who is still missing Puyol's partner in central defence Gerard Pique.

"He is a fundamental player for us, he gives us things that others do not, he is the captain, he has proven experience in a wide range of situations," said Guardiola, who also welcomes back Adriano, Maxwell and midfielder Ibrahim Afellay from injury.

Real Madrid, who host city rivals Getafe today, are better than last year, according to forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

"This season we are more competitive, more mature and have more experience," he said. "That's why I think this will be Real Madrid's year."

Real Sociedad v Barcelona,

Live, Sky Sports 4, 5.0

Irish Independent

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