Carles Puyol will go down in history as one of football's great leaders.
In a 15-year spell with Barcelona's first team, he captained his team to numerous titles, including three Champions League winners medals, six La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey's and two UEFA Super Cup's.
On this day in 1999, Carles Puyol made his Barcelona debut.— UCL on Paramount+ ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 2, 2021
He played in 593 matches, winning 21 trophies.
8x Spanish Super Cup 🏆
6x LaLiga 🏆
3x UEFA Champions League 🏆
2x Spanish Cup
2x FIFA Club World Cup🏆
2x UEFA Super Cup 🏆
Captain fantastic 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/dvJmGXaKiP
But for many, it was Puyol's incredible attitude and application that made him stand out on and off the pitch.
He was hard, but fair. Just take a look at this compilation - a man with great morals.
Puyol once said: "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 studies for his exams and does okay in the end."
If a quote had to sum up this incredibly hard-working centre-back from the small town of La Pobla de Segur in Catalonia, this would be it.
His character and personality was often seen on the pitch. Back in 2010, he invited AC Milan midfielder Ronaldinho to join Barcelona's team photo.
Throwback to when Carles Puyol asked Ronaldinho to take part in the Barcelona pre-match photo on his return to the club.— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) March 22, 2021
🗣 "For years we didn't win anything at Barcelona, then Ronaldinho arrived. He's the most important player in our history." pic.twitter.com/iRGbpUepic
He also memorably placed the captain's armband on teammate Eric Abidal's arm when he famously lifted the Champions League trophy, just months after being diagnosed with cancer.
In a typically selfless quote soon after Abidal lifted the cup, Puyol said that the greatest moment during his 15-year career was the 2011 Champions League win at Wembley.
Not because of the result, but the fact that his friend was able to lift the trophy after a long battle with illness.
Throwback to 2011 when Puyol let Eric Abidal lift the Champions league trophy against United in the final at Wembley after suffering with cancer.— . (@BGFtbl) June 29, 2019
Along with the morals that stood him in such high regard during his career, a story from one of his closest friends Gerard Pique, who he talks about in our interview below, really typifies his attitude to the cause.
As told by Sid Lowe from The Guardian, the Barcelona defender describes Puyol with a perfect story.
"I can't imagine a Barcelona team without him," Piqué says.
"He wears me out! I remember the day he came back after injury and in the middle of the game I said: 'Puyi, I've missed you so much.' He told me to shut the hell up and concentrate. He never stops.
"One time, the game was stopped, someone was on the stretcher, and he was shouting at me. I said to him: Calm down, it's 4-0 and there are three minutes left.' He said: 'So what? Focus! I know you.' I was dying with laughter.
"Puyol keeps you on your toes at all times."
Featured Image Credit: YouTube/@Afikahqumairha
- Carles Puyol Remembers The Roberto Carlos Shot That 'Almost Ripped His Head Off', It Sums Him Up
- A Compilation Of Carles Puyol Being 'The King Of Fair Play' Is A Reminder Of How Much Football Misses Him
- The Time Carles Puyol Nearly Broke Phil Neville's Leg In Six-A-Side Game
- Barcelona Unable To Register Two New Signings Due To Financial Fair Play Regulations