Puyol in action for Barcelona
|Full name||Carles Puyol i Saforcada|
|Date of birth||13 April 1978|
|Place of birth||La Pobla de Segur, Spain|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|1993–1995||Pobla de Segur|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 9 March 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Carles Puyol i Saforcada (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈkaɾɫes puˈjɔɫ i safoɾˈkaða]; born 13 April 1978) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team. Mainly a central defender he can also play on either flank, especially as a right back.
He served as a longtime team captain for his only club FC Barcelona after taking over from Luis Enrique in August 2004, going on to appear in more than 500 official games for the team and win 18 major titles, notably five La Liga and three UEFA Champions League championships.
Club career 
Born in La Pobla de Segur, Lleida, Catalonia, Puyol started playing football for his hometown club, as a goalkeeper. However, after injury problems with his shoulder, he switched to striker. He said that in his youth, "My parents were skeptical about me becoming a footballer and encouraged me to study." In 1995, he joined FC Barcelona's youth system at La Masia, switching positions again, to play as a defensive midfielder; two years later, he started playing for the club's B-team, occupying the position of right back.
In 1999 Louis van Gaal promoted Puyol to the first team, and he made his La Liga debut on 2 October in a 2–0 away win against Real Valladolid. After that, he successfully made another conversion, now to central defender. During the 2003 off-season, as Barcelona was immersed in a financial crisis, Manchester United showed interest in acquiring Puyol's services, but no move ever materialized; two years later, the player extended his contract for a further five seasons.
Puyol was named club captain at the end of the 2003–04 season, after the retirement of Luis Enrique. He continued to be a defensive cornerstone for Barça, being awarded the "Best European right back" award by UEFA in 2002 (amongst other individual accolades), and helping the Catalans win two consecutive league titles. In 2005–06, he appeared in a total of 52 official games, including 12 in the season's UEFA Champions League, which ended in conquest against Arsenal, the club's second.
On 16 September 2008, Puyol made his 400th appearance in all competitions for Barcelona's first team in a Champions League group stage match against Sporting Clube de Portugal. In the league season, he dealt with injury problems, but still contributed to the team by appearing in 28 matches and helped to win another league title, his only goal coming in El Clásico at Real Madrid on 2 May 2009, which finished with a resounding 6–2 away win; from 2008–10 combined, other than the two league titles, he was essential in conquering the 2009 UEFA Super Cup, the 2009 Champions League and the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup, appearing in nearly 100 official matches, and describing the club as "the team who every Catalan child wants to play for... I am living the dream playing football for Barça and it is my dream to retire playing here."
Puyol struggled again with injury in the 2010–11 season, but still appeared in 28 official games for Barcelona, which again won the league and the Champions League. He played six minutes in the final of the latter competition, a 3–1 win against Manchester United.
Since the defeat to Inter Milan in the 2009–10 Champions League semi-final, Puyol went on to play 56 official games for Barcelona without losing, a run that only ended on 11 January 2012 at CA Osasuna (2–3 loss). Additionally, he scored two goals in the season's Copa del Rey, against Real Madrid (2–1 away win, 4–3 on aggregate) and Valencia CF (1–1 away, 3–1 aggregate).
On 2 October 2012, in the late stages of a Champions League group stage encounter at S.L. Benfica, his first game upon recovering from a knee ligament ailment contracted against Getafe CF, Puyol dislocated his elbow after landing awkwardly in a corner kick challenge, initially being sidelined for a further two months but fully recovering in one. On 18 December Barcelona renewed his contract, extending it until 30 June 2016.
International career 
Puyol won his first cap for Spain on 15 November 2000 against the Netherlands, and remained a regular fixture in the following years. He played for the nation at the 2000 Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008, 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup.
At Euro 2008 Puyol started throughout the vast majority of the competition, as the defensive backline only conceded two goals in five games in an eventual final win against Germany. He was named in the Team of the Tournament alongside defensive partner Carlos Marchena, of Valencia CF. He started in three out of five at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, and captained the team when Iker Casillas was rested for the last group stage match; as Spain finished third, he and four other teammates were named in the Team of the Tournament.
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Puyol started every match and played almost every minute (he was substituted by Marchena in the 84th minute of the quarter-final against Paraguay). He scored the only goal in the semifinal against Germany with a powerful header from a corner taken by Barcelona teammate Xavi, sending the national team through to their first World Cup final, and scoring his third international goal in 89 matches; in the decisive match, he played the full 120 minutes as Spain defeated the Netherlands 1–0.
On 1 August 2010, 32-year Puyol announced that he would continue to play for the national team for at least another two years. He missed the Euro 2012 tournament due to a knee injury contracted in a league game against RCD Espanyol in early May, which required surgery and five to six weeks recuperation.
International goals 
|1.||17 April 2002||Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland||Northern Ireland||0–4||0–5||Friendly|
|2.||11 October 2008||A. Le Coq Arena, Tallinn, Estonia||Estonia||0–3||0–3||2010 World Cup qualification|
|3.||7 July 2010||Moses Mabhida, Durban, South Africa||Germany||0–1||0–1||2010 World Cup|
Playing style 
Puyol is known for his intense commitment and ruggedness as a defender. According to Barcelona's head doctor, Puyol is "the strongest, who has the quickest reactions, and who has the most explosive strength." Club fans refer to him as "The Wall". Miguel Ángel Nadal, who played with him for a short period of time, said, "Carles plays with maturity, has great positional sense, and above all, has pride in his shirt."
Puyol is also known for his leadership and work ethic. He often continues training alone after the end of a team practice session or on days off. He said in 2010, "I don't have Romário's technique, [Marc] Overmars' pace or [Patrick] Kluivert's strength. But I work harder than the others. I'm like the student who is not as clever, but revises for his exams and does OK in the end." He is often described as the heart of the Barcelona team.
Fellow defender Gerard Piqué said: "He's someone who, even if you're winning 3–0 and there's a few seconds left in the game will shout at the top of his voice at you if he thinks your concentration is going." A former team-mate said, "Even four goals down he thinks we can still win", and another described him as "a pain in the arse" but added "that's exactly what we need".
- La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13
- Copa del Rey: 2008–09, 2011–12; Runner-up 2010–11
- Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011; Runner-up 2012
- UEFA Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11
- UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011; Runner-up 2006
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011; Runner-up 2006
- FIFA World Cup: 2010
- UEFA European Football Championship: 2008
- Summer Olympics: Silver medal 2000
- FIFA Confederations Cup: Third-place 2009
- La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year: 2001
- ESM Team of the Year: 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010
- UEFA Club Best Defender: 2006
- FIFA/FIFPro World XI: 2007, 2008, 2010
- UEFA Euro 2008 Team of the Tournament
- 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup Team of the Tournament
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2010
|Spain national team|
Personal life 
Puyol's father, Josep, died in a farming accident in late 2006 while Carles was on his way to play a match against Deportivo de La Coruña. He was informed of the news by coach Frank Rijkaard upon landing. He said that this, combined with an injury led to a dark period, with Spanish national team physio Raúl Martínez eventually coming to Barcelona: in the player's words, "...[he] gave me a great telling off. He made me react, and I began to try to be more cheerful, and not overwhelmed by it all." Puyol's long shaggy hair has been a distinctive feature throughout his career. Barcelona manager van Gaal, suggested he get it cut when the player was 19, immediately after his first training session with the senior players: "What's your problem, can't you afford the money for a haircut?", Van Gaal asked him in his office. "I said nothing," Puyol remembered, "and to this day have kept my hair as is. He likes to warm up for games listening to Napalm Death.
In March 2009, Puyol told Goal.com: "I do not like to go out much, although it is good to disconnect and I like to read." In September of the following year, he started a relationship with model Malena Costa. On 16 October, he scored through a header in a 2–1 home win against Valencia CF, and dedicated her the goal by making a heart symbol with both hands. “I dedicate the goal to my girlfriend”, he said after the game.
See also 
- Players to watch – Carles Puyol; BBC Sport, 25 May 2004
- Puyol's love of labour not lost on fans; The Independent, 14 May 2006
- Man Utd move for Puyol; BBC Sport, 10 August 2003
- Barca skipper Puyol pens new deal; BBC Sport, 22 September 2005
- The captain makes it to 400 games; Barcelona's official website, 16 September 2008
- Barcelona run riot at Real Madrid and put Chelsea on notice; The Guardian, 2 May 2009
- Puyol injury shock; Barcelona's official website, 1 September 2010
- Barcelona lose Puyol to groin injury; ESPN Soccernet, 30 December 2010
- Knee surgery for Barca captain Puyol; ESPN Soccernet, 31 May 2011
- 50 games straight without losing with Puyol on the pitch; Barcelona's official website, 16 January 2012
- Barca fight back at the Bernabeu; ESPN Soccernet, 18 January 2012
- Valencia - FC Barcelona: Draw with some shine (1-1); Barcelona's official website, 1 February 2012
- Elbow injury sends Puyol back to Barça sidelines; UEFA.com, 3 October 2012
- "Barça has renewed the contracts of Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernández and Leo Messi". Barcelona's official website. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- Puyol returns to give Barcelona lift and leadership; The Guardian, 29 April 2008
- Villa saves Spain after penalty drama; ESPN Soccernet, 3 July 2010
- Puyol heads Spain into final; ESPN Soccernet, 7 July 2010
- Puyol to keep playing for Spain; The New York Times, 2 August 2010
- Puyol facing fitness fight; ESPN Soccernet, 8 May 2012
- Campeón hasta en los simulacros (Champion even in drills); Marca, 6 February 2013 (Spanish)
- 100 veces Puyol (100 times Puyol); Marca, 6 February 2013 (Spanish)
- Puyol anchors Spanish defense with combination of hard work, grit; Sports Illustrated, 9 July 2010
- Puyol, a star on defense, wins it with offense; The New York Times, 8 July 2010
- Defending the caveman; Times Live, 11 July 2010
- "Spain dominate Team of the Tournament". UEFA.com. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
- "Los campeones del mundo de fútbol ya tienen la Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo" [The football World Champions already have the Royal Order of Sporting Merit] (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 5 January 2011.
- Official site statistics
- Transfermarkt player statistics
- Includes other competitive competitions, including the Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup
- Puyol es baja tras la muerte de su padre en un accidente (Puyol does not play after his father died in accident); El País, 4 November 2006 (Spanish)
- 500 más y lo deja (500 more and he's through); El País, 15 November 2010 (Spanish)
- 2010 FIFA World Cup profile; FIFA.com
- "Manchester United v Barcelona: Live". Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Carles Puyol on life, leadership and trophies at Barcelona; Goal.com, 15 March 2009
- Picture of the day: Celebrations
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Carles Puyol|
- FC Barcelona profile
- BDFutbol profile
- National team data
- Carles Puyol at National-Football-Teams.com
- 2010 FIFA World Cup profile
- Carles Puyol – FIFA competition record
- Carles Puyol – UEFA competition record
- Transfermarkt profile
- Official website (Catalan) (Spanish) (English)
|FC Barcelona captain