Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino says that suggestions that captain Carles Puyol is considering retirement have come as a surprise to him.
Reports in Spain claim that the defender is contemplating either qutting the game or moving to a lower level of football at the end of the season due to his persistent problems with a knee injury.
When asked about the subject at a press conference, however, Martino declared that 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 party for the game, with no space for any of the club's B-team players.
Martino explained: "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."