Vicente del Bosque has promised Carles Puyol that an opportunity remains for him to be included in the Spain squad for this summer's World Cup.
The Barcelona centre-back has struggled with fitness this season, making only four La Liga appearances for his side so far, and was again absent as the Catalans fell to a 3-1 defeat against Real Sociedad on Saturday.
However, Del Bosque stressed that the door is open for Puyol to return to the national set-up should the defender be able to demonstrate that he has overcome his injury problems, despite Spain assistant Toni Grande admitting that it would be unlikely that Puyol would play.
"Look, no one, absolutely no one, is currently ruled out for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil," the 63-year-old coach told Mundo Deportivo.
"And much less Carles Puyol. Carles Puyol is a special case for me.
"What happens will depend on whether you have minutes on the pitch, whether or not you are playing regularly at your club, how you are at the end of season. Carles and other possible call-ups, everyone.
"I've already told him when he was recovering that we would expect him to sharpen. His recovery has been remarkable for the dedication and effort he has put in.
"When I choose the World Cup squad it will not be an easy task. That's the trouble with my role."
Puyol has been a long-standing member of la Roja's line-up, having earned 100 international caps since making his debut against the Netherlands in 2000.
He helped his country to the European Championship in 2008 and World Cup in South Africa in 2010, but missed out on the Euro 2012 success because of a knee injury.