Barcelona fans will say a final farewell to club captain Carles Puyol this weekend as the defender’s nineteen-year career comes to an end. The stalwart center-back will hang up his boots after Saturday’s title deciding clash with Atletico Madrid and will be looking to add a seventh La Liga title to top off a glittering career.
Puyol joined Barcelona at the age of fourteen and has made almost four hundred appearances for the Catalan side. After coming through the Barcelona youth system and reserve side Barcelona B, Puyol made his first-team debut in October 1999 in a 2-0 win against Real Valladolid.
Under manager Louis van Gaal, Puyol went on to establish himself as a first team regular at the Camp Nou and was named club captain at the end of the 2003/04 season. Originally a right back, Puyol was named ‘Best European Right Back’ by UEFA, as he helped Barcelona win back to back La Liga titles in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons. Puyol’s second La Liga title was followed by a Spanish Supercup win and his first of three Champions League winners medals.
Puyol’s best years in the Catalan colors came in the 2008/09 season. He captained his side to the La Liga title, Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA World Club Cup in a spectacular season. The following two seasons saw him add winners medals from two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey, Champions League, two Spanish Supercups, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA World Club Cup.
In 2010, Puyol was part of Spain’s World Cup winning side, his first and only in a one hundred-game international career. In the past few seasons, Puyol has added medals from another La Liga title, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Supercup. Throughout his career, Puyol picked up a vast amount of individual awards, including six UEFA Team of the Year accolades and a feature in the FIFA World Cup All-Star team in 2010.
The center-back will not only go down in Barcelona history, but also in world football history. Puyol has been an incredible servant to the game for the past two decades and will retire with a trophy cabinet that can only be described as incredible.
Written by Ben Pugh