According to information published yesterday by Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo about the possibility of Carles Puyol leaving FC Barcelona at the end of season has generated a huge impact, both nationally and internationally.
The Barca captain has told several team-mates that if his right knee is still giving him the problems that he has suffered this season so far, he will probably decide to leave the club and even hang up his boots despite being under contract with the Catalan giants until 2016.
This information was gathered from many sources, some of which came from a mass audience. For example, Spanish TV channel Cuatro dedicated a generous slot to this story from Mundo Deportivo on their lunchtime sports roundup.
Right after the match report on Saturday between Barca and Villarreal, news about Puyol that was published by Mundo Deportivo was revealed, although the Barca captain had not even spoke about it himself on the social networks.
Esport3, a TV3 sports channel, also widely touched on the information and sports journalist Bernat Soler mentioned the news about Carles Puyol on sports TV programs Gol a Gol and Hat Trick Barca.
The two leading newspapers for Real Madrid, Marca and As, also published the news about the Barca captain. And on the website of Mundo Deportivo yesterday, the piece of news was one of the most widely read, most consulted and most tweeted.
This news would undoubtedly come as a major blow and shock for all Barca fans the world over. Puyol has been a stalwart for the club. The defender was born in La Pobla de Segur in Catalonia and started out playing as goalkeeper for his local side.
His parents wanted him to study as they were skeptical about a career in football. Puyol joined the club’s famed Masia academy in 1995 and played as a defensive midfielder. Two years later he made it into Barca’s B team as a right back.
It was under Dutch coach Louis van Gaal that Puyol was promoted to the first team in 1999 and made his La Liga debut against Valladolid on 2nd October of the same year.He made another position switch, this time to central defender.
In 2002, the defensive cornerstone of the Azulgrana’s was awarded the “Best European right back” award by UEFA, which was just another of his many achievements. At the end of the 2004/5 season, Carles Puyol was named club captain after the retirement of Luis Enrique.
On 16th September 2008, the Barca captain notched up 400 appearances in all competitions against sporting Clube de Portugal, a Champions League group stage match.That season he had to deal with injuries but still managed to turn in 28 appearances for the club and helping the Catalans to another league title.
During the 2010/11 season Puyol struggled with injuries but played 28 games for Barca. That same year, the club won both the Champions League and the Spanish league. Puyol came on for just six minute in the Champions League final in their 3-1 win against Manchester United.
On 18th December 2012 FC Barcelona renewed his contract, extending it until 30th June 2016. In June of this year he again underwent surgery to his right knee, in what was his sixth operation as a professional footballer.
There is no doubting Carles Puyol’s quality as a Barca player and to lose him would be a hammer blow to both club and fans. He does however have to think about his health and well-being and what’s best for him and his family. If the captain does decide to retire, he would be remembered as a pillar and cornerstone of Barca and the modern game.