Lookup ‘chief’ within the dictionary and you can find an image of Carles Puyol together with his lengthy, shaggy hair.
Overlook the six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, World Cup and European Championship. Or the 593 appearances for Barcelona.
Puyol was a part of the Nou Camp furnishings for the very best a part of 20 years
Remembered as ‘The Wall’ on the Nou Camp, the legendary Spain defender represented a dying breed of no-nonsense.
With hair in his eyes and coronary heart on his sleeve, Puyol performed with the rugged aggression of the hardest-working child in P.E.
Watching him was to be satisfied his life relied on each match, each deal with, and each order.
However his iconic Barca profession so almost ended earlier than it started, again in 1998.
Puyol needed to drive his method into the Barca first crew
The Spanish giants, unconvinced by Puyol after three years of their well-known La Masia academy, accepted a suggestion from Malaga for the then 20-year-old.
You don’t simply promote Puyol, although.
Not content material with failure and pushed by a fierce sense of loyalty, the Spaniard refused to go away – and good luck making him.
The next season, Louis van Gaal promoted Puyol to the primary crew, the place he made the primary of 392 La Liga appearances on October 2, 1999.
In 2004, ‘Captain Caveman’ was born, and the newly-converted central defender from right-back would lead an unprecedented period of success in Catalonia.
Puyol gained a grand whole of 21 titles in Spain
You’d by no means know his profession was plagued with accidents, as a result of Puyol persevered, however six operations as knowledgeable finally took their toll in 2014, forcing an early retirement aged 36.
As time went on, his tempo waned, however like all the good defenders all through historical past, Puyol didn’t want it.
He mentioned in 2010: “I don’t have Romário’s method, [Marc] Overmars’ tempo or [Patrick] Kluivert’s energy. However I work more durable than the others.
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“I’m like the coed who shouldn’t be as intelligent, however revises for his exams and does OK ultimately.”
His unmatched delight and dedication was so robust it earned a spot in one of many best ever Barcelona groups, as one of many first names on the crew sheet, regardless of being under the technical stage of his teammates.
Right here was a person, in spite of everything, who shared a dressing room with Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.
His most iconic second might be this winner towards Germany within the 2010 World Cup semi-final
That love for his membership and keenness for the captaincy was by no means clearer than when he kissed the Catalan flag in entrance of an incensed Bernabeu after rounding off a 6-2 victory over Actual Madrid in 2009.
For essentially the most half, although, Puyol performed arduous however truthful, upholding the values of sportsmanship and understanding his duty as one among soccer’s ethical bastions.
The skipper stepped in to cease the choreographed dancing of Dani Alves and Thiago throughout a thrashing of Rayo Vallecano in 2012, reminding the pair to indicate some respect to the opposition.
A 12 months earlier in 2011, Puyol had stepped apart to let Eric Abidal, who had just lately recovered from surgical procedure to take away a tumour, elevate the Champions League trophy first.
Puyol had completely no time for choreographed celebrations
The hardman let Abidal put on his armband and elevate the trophy in 2011
That was additionally the 12 months he paid €30,000 to assist fund specialist personal remedy for Miki Roque, a footballer from his dwelling province affected by pelvic most cancers.
A category act each on and off the pitch, soccer rained blessings down upon Puyol, rewarding him as one of the embellished footballers in historical past.
Merely put, they don’t make them like him anymore.
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