Just yesterday Carles Puyol announced in press conference that his playing career at Barcelona will come to an end once this season is over. The Catalan defender has only played for his local club ever since he made his professional debut playing for 15 seasons in Barcelona’s first team but now he will be going elsewhere. Moreover, he will miss out on the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
He has had a wonderful experience at the Camp Nou, from being a 17 year old who joined Barcelona to becoming a captain who won 21 titles with the club and many prestigious titles with the national team. Every single Barcelona fan should be proud of him and fans of other teams can only have respect for such a well coveted player who showed utmost loyalty to his club. His decision to leave was for the benefit of both himself and the club, if Puyol stays at Barcelona then the management won’t feel the need to sign a defender despite the necessity of a defender in Barca’s defense after this season’s shambolic act at the back.
Usually players play in one position throughout their careers but Puyol started as a goalkeeper when he was young and became a striker after he suffered a shoulder injury. When Barcelona signed him from youth club Pobla de Segur they turned him into a defensive midfielder and he eventually made his debut as a right back with the senior team under Lious Van Gaal in 1999. Eventually he became a central defender and established himself as a starter.
Once Luis Enrique announced his retirement in 2004, Carles was appointed as the club captain and he rejected an official bid from Manchester United to renew his contract at the club. Season after season, he improved and won championship after another. Although Barcelona flopped during a couple of seasons, he always maintained a good form at least better than his team-mates. He enjoyed great moments during his career, he often saved balls off the line, attempted last man tackles and won the ball and he occasionally scored goals, the most important one perhaps was the one against Germany in the world cup in 2010. The goal proved enough for Spain to advance to the World Cup final which they eventually won thanks to a great performance from Puyol that prevented the Dutch forward from scoring any goal.
No words or articles can summarize the career he had at Barcelona, it can’t be said enough how important and crucial he was to Pep Guardiola’s side as he adapted perfectly well to the tiki-taka game. He did not only run quickly to recover possession, he was the pillar who started the play, as he got involved in almost every attacking play. Following the loss against Inter in the Champions League in 2010, he played 56 consecutive matches for Barcelona under without losing a single game until Osasuna brought that record to a halt when they defeated the Blaugrana.
Besides his achievements with club and national team, he won several individual awards including ‘La Liga Breakthrough Player’ in 2011, he featured four times in Europe’s team of the year, six times in the UEFA team of the year, once in the World Cup best XI and he was Europe’s best defender in 2006.
Puyol’s career has recently taken a turn, he is no longer the defender was, injuries have taken the better of him. 36 injuries in total, eight of which were in the knee have hampered his career and this season it was obvious that he can no longer play at the highest level of the game and perhaps it is the time for him to step aside for the sake of the club.
It is likely that the player will join an less stressful league, not for the sake of money but for the sake of a new experience and The MLS is highly likely going to be his next destination unless he opts to join a Qatari club or stay in Europe, though what is certain, is that he will not stay in La Liga and face Barcelona in a competitive match. Whatever decision he takes at the end of the season, he will certainly join the host of Barcelona legends!
Good luck Carles with the next step in your career!