Puyol playing for Barcelona in 2011
|Full name||Carles Puyol 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.
Carles Puyol Saforcada (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈkaɾɫes puˈjɔɫ i safoɾˈkaða]; born 13 April 1978) is a Spanish retired professional footballer. Mainly a central defender, he could also play on either flank, mostly as a right back, and was regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation.
A one-club man, he served as the longtime team captain for his only club Barcelona after taking over from Luis Enrique in August 2004, and went on to appear in 593 official games for the club and win 21 major titles, notably six La Liga trophies and three Champions League.
A Spanish international on 100 occasions, Puyol was part of the squad that won the Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup tournaments. In the latter competition's semifinal, he scored the only goal of the match against Germany.
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 forward. 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 1998, Barcelona accepted an offer from Málaga CF to sell Puyol, who was behind Frank de Boer and Michael Reiziger in the pecking order. However, he refused to leave after seeing his best friend Xavi make his first-team debut.
Louis van Gaal promoted Puyol to the first team the following year, and he made his La Liga debut on 2 October 1999 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 for the club's second trophy.
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."
On 13 November 2010, Puyol made his 500th appearance in all competitions for Barcelona's first team in a La Liga game against Villarreal CF. 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; in June of the following year he again underwent surgery to his right knee, in what was his sixth operation as a professional, which led to thoughts of early retirement.
On 2 March 2014, Puyol surpassed Migueli to go second in Barça's all-time league appearances table, behind only Xavi, and scored the third goal in a 4–1 home win against UD Almería. Two days after, even though he still had two more years in his contract, he announced that he would leave Barcelona at the end of the season and declare the remainder of his link void. He said, "After my last two major operations, I find it is taking me a lot of effort to reach the level required here, even more than myself and the surgeons thought necessary. That's the reason I have reached this decision".
On 15 May 2014, Barcelona bid farewell to Puyol, after a fifteen-year career in the first team (ten as captain) that brought him 21 titles. At a packed Auditori 1899, his teammates, ex-teammates, presidents and coaches paid him homage, and he said, "I’ve lived the dream of so many young kids, doing what I most enjoy in life, playing football and training". He announced his retirement shortly after at the age of 36 but continued connected to his only club, being immediately appointed director of football Andoni Zubizarreta's assistant. He resigned in January 2015, shortly after the latter was fired.
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.
Style of play
Puyol was known for his commanding presence in the air, his composure on the ball and his intense commitment and ruggedness. According to Barcelona's head doctor, he was "the strongest, who has the quickest reactions, and who has the most explosive strength." Club fans referred 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 was also known for his leadership and work ethic. He often continued 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."
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".
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.
In 2006, Puyol said that when not working, he leads "a very quiet life... I've not been to a nightclub in Barcelona for years either. When I go out, I stay in a restaurant with my friends." He likes to warm up for games listening to Napalm Death.
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."
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.
|Club||Season||League||Copa del Rey||Europe||Other||Total|
- Appearances in UEFA Champions League
- 3 appearances in UEFA Champions League, 2 in UEFA cup
- Appearances in UEFA Cup
- Appearances in Supercopa de España
- 1 appearance in UEFA Super Cup, 8 appearances and 1 goal in UEFA Champions League
- 2 appearances in Supercopa de España, 2 appearances in FIFA Club World Cup
- 1 appearance in UEFA Super Cup, 8 appearances and 1 goal in UEFA Champions League
- Two appearances in Supercopa de España, 2 appearances in FIFA Club World Cup
- Appearances in FIFA Club World Cup
|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 FIFA World Cup|
- La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13
- Copa del Rey: 2008–09, 2011–12
- Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
- UEFA Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11
- UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011
- FIFA World Cup: 2010
- UEFA European 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 Dream Team: 2010
- BBVA Fair Play award: 2011–12
- UEFA Ultimate Team of the Year (published 2015)
- World XI: Team of the 21st Century
- UEFA Euro All-time XI (published 2016)
- "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010: List of players" (PDF). FIFA.com. 4 June 2010. p. 29. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- Players to watch – Carles Puyol; BBC Sport, 25 May 2004
- "Puyol anchors Spanish defense with combination of hard work, grit". Sports Illustrated. 9 July 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- 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; FC Barcelona, 16 September 2008
- Barcelona run riot at Real Madrid and put Chelsea on notice; The Guardian, 2 May 2009
- Carles Puyol: number 500; Total Barça, 13 November 2010
- Puyol injury shock; FC Barcelona, 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; FC Barcelona, 16 January 2012
- Barca fight back at the Bernabeu; ESPN Soccernet, 18 January 2012
- Valencia – FC Barcelona: Draw with some shine (1–1); FC Barcelona, 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". FC Barcelona. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- "Carles Puyol, cuando el quirófano es el salón de casa" [Carles Puyol, when surgery room is the living room] (in Spanish). Sport. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Retirement on Puyol's mind after surgery". FIFA.com. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Puyol moves second in Barça league appearances list". Marca. 2 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- "Carles Puyol announces he is leaving FC Barcelona at the end of the season". FC Barcelona. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- "Puyol is a brave leader who dismissed theories that strikers get all the glory, his career was nothing short of heroic". Daily Mail. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "Puyol announces he is to leave Barcelona". UEFA.com. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- "Puyol: "I came here as a boy and I leave with a family"". FC Barcelona. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Carles Puyol será el 'segundo' de Zubizarreta" [Carles Puyol to be Zubizarreta's 'second'] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Carles Puyol resigns as Barcelona sack director of football Andoni Zubizarreta". Eurosport. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- Puyol returns to give Barcelona lift and leadership; The Guardian, 29 April 2008
- "Sáez selects Spain squad". UEFA.com. 20 May 2004. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- 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, a star on defense, wins it with offense; The New York Times, 8 July 2010
- Defending the caveman; Times Live, 11 July 2010
- "Carlos Puyol announcement: No obvious successor for Barcelona legend and master of reinvention". The Independent. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- "Carles Puyol: The inspiring leader". ESPN FC. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- 2010 FIFA World Cup profile; at FIFA.com
- "Manchester United v Barcelona: Live". Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- 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)
- Carles Puyol on life, leadership and trophies at Barcelona; Goal.com, 15 March 2009
- Picture of the day: Celebrations; Total Barça, 18 October 2010
- "Carles Puyol costeó el tratamiento de Miki Roqué" [Carles Puyol paid for Miki Roqué's treatment] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "Carles Puyol's daughter Manuela is born". FC Barcelona. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- "Puyol anuncia el nacimiento de su hija María" [Puyol announces birth of his daughter María] (in Spanish). Sport. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "In-depth look at Carles Puyol's career". FC Barcelona. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- "Puyol". Soccerway. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Puyol – Trophies". Soccerway. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Carles Puyol Saforcada". FC Barcelona. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Spain wins wild bronze medal match". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 28 June 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Spain dominate Team of the Tournament". UEFA.com. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
- "Ultimate Team of the Year: The All-Time XI". UEFA.com. 22 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "World XI: Team of the 21st Century". Give Me Sport. 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- "Your All-time EURO 11 revealed". UEFA.com. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "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). Mundo Deportivo. 5 January 2011.
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