Football: Captain Carles Puyol back in Barcelona squad after seven months out

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol smiles to his teammates during a training session at the Sport Centre FC Barcelona Joan Gamper on Friday, Oct 18, 2013. Puyol has been cleared to make his return to action in a Spanish Primera Liga match again
Barcelona captain Carles Puyol smiles to his teammates during a training session at the Sport Centre FC Barcelona Joan Gamper on Friday, Oct 18, 2013. Puyol has been cleared to make his return to action in a Spanish Primera Liga match against Osasuna on Saturday after a seven-month absence following two knee operations. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (AFP) - Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has been cleared to make his return to action in a Spanish Primera Liga match against Osasuna on Saturday after a seven-month absence following two knee operations.

The 35-year-old missed the final few months of last season after first going under the knife in March and his comeback was delayed by a second operation to remove a cyst from the same knee in June.

The Spanish football international has been back training with his team-mates for a number of weeks and his return to the squad is a welcome boost for Gerardo Martino with Barca facing seven games in the next 23 days.

Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano have also been passed fit after overcoming the muscle injuries that kept them out of Argentina's final two World Cup qualifiers last week.

However, Gerard Pique, Alexis Sanchez and Dani Alves have all been left out of Martino's 18-man squad for the trip to Pamplona after playing twice for their national sides in the past week.