Barcelona stalwart Carles Puyol revealed on Tuesday that he will leave the Catalan giants in the summer.
The 35-year-old is a Barcelona legend, having playing played for the Spanish champions first team for the last 15 years, but been at the club 19 years.
Puyol confirmed his decision by telling a press conference: “I want to announce that at the end of the season, I will no longer be a Barcelona player. There are three months of the season left and I will not give up. I will help the team.
“After two recent surgeries, it has become harder for me to recover the level that I demand of myself and that I need to be at to play here.”
The veteran centre-back is a true Barcelona icon, alongside current teammates Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi. He will go down as one of the greatest defenders in the history of the Catalan club and European football.
Injuries have plagued Puyol for the last few seasons. In fact during his 15 year first team career at Barcelona he has had an incredible 35 injuries, eight of those injuries being to his knees. The knee injuries have become a massive problem for the 35-year-old in the past couple of seasons.
An illustration of his injury problems would be the fact that the defender has made just five appearances for Barca this season.
Carles Puyol has to be one of the most decorated footballers in the game. Puyol has won six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, one World Cup and one European Championship. That sort of record is just reward for such a loyal and committed footballer.
Puyol has stayed loyal to Barcelona throughout his career and has picked helped the Catalans pick up 21 trophies in 15 years and made 593 appearances for the Spanish champions, only fellow Barcelona icon Xavi has made more appearances for the club.
Carles Puyol showed what he meant to him to play for Barcelona every time he went onto a football pitch. He is Barca’s leader and gives his all when he pulls on that Barcelona shirt.
Puyol’s central-defensive partnership with Spanish international teammate Gerard Pique was the foundation from which Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona was on. The pair had to do a lot of work between them because the rest of the team tended to want to attack.
The number of times that Puyol made vital last-ditch tackles is often underestimated. His legs may have slowed up in the latter part of his career, but he still produced some vital tackles in crucial games for the Catalan giants.
Puyol has also played a vital role in Spain’s recent dominance of international football. The veteran centre-back has made a century of appearances for La Rioja and was a mainstay in his countries defence for over a decade.
Carles Puyol has stated that he does not know what the future holds just yet. The veteran defender could retire from the game, but he will no doubt have a host of offers this summer from all over the world.
Part to play
Barcelona do not look as solid without Carles Puyol at the heart of their defence and he will no doubt still have a part to play in Barca seasons. The Spanish giants are currently odds of 11/10 to win La Liga.
Puyol’s leadership and hard work will be needed both on and off the pitch. He is a massive influence within in the club and team.
In truth Barcelona have been looking for Puyol’s long-term replacement for the last few years, but have failed to successful sign a quality centre-back. Youngster Marc Bartra has played more games in recent seasons.
However, it seems that the Barcelona coaching staff does not believe that Bartra is ready to be a regular first team centre-back. The Catalan giants have a major task on their hands attempting to replace their warrior centre-back.
Whatever Carles Puyol decides to do in the future he will always be remembered as a Barcelona and Spain legend. It is a shame that Barcelona are losing such an influential player, but it seems that those injuries have finally got the better of tough tackling defender.
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