Carles Puyol began his footballing career in the local team of the small town where he was born, La Pobla de Segur. His talent soon attracted wider attention and, at the age of 17, he was signed up for the Barca academy at La Masía.
He rapidly became a fixture in Barca B and then progressed to make his debut with the first team on 2nd October 1999 against Valladolid at the orders of Louis Van Gaal. His appearances became more and more frequent until he made the right back position his own. Thanks to his determination to improve and a tremendous work rate, Carles Puyol adapted to the position of central defender.
In the 2003-2004 season, having been chosen as third captain, he played a vital role in the team's sensational run of form that led to the runners-up place in the league. Puyol made 27 appearances in the league and seven in the UEFA Cup.
However, Carles Puyol had to wait until the 2004-05 season to win his first medal with Barca. He was, by then, captain of the first team and an essential part of Frank Rijkaard's league championship winning side. At the end of the season, he finally saw his dream come true of lifting the league trophy in the Nou Camp.
During the 2005-06 season, he played as well as he had the previous year. The Barça captain had the honour of being presented with the league title trophy before the game against Espanyol, before lifting the UEFA Champions League in Paris after the monumental victory against Arsenal in the Saint-Denis Stadium. Puyol only missed five matches all season and none through injury. On three occasions he was rested by coach Frank Rijkaard and was then suspended for the other two games which he did not play in. He also scored one goal as he headed home during the 5-0 victory against Real Sociedad on October 30, 2005.
At the end of the following season in 2006/07 (in which he played in 35 of 38 League games),
Carles Puyol suffered the worst injury of his career when the League was already over. He damaged
ligaments in his knee in a friendly played in Pretoria on 20 June 2007 and this kept him out until
29 September. Despite missing the first months of the competition, the club captain finally played
in 30 League games in the 2007/08 campaign.
In the treble winning season 2008/09, Carles Puyol was once again Barça’s most versatile defender. Guardiola used him as a right back in the Champions League final, a left back in the Copa del Rey final and also as centre back in most games. A great utility player, he also showed he can score goals, such as his header in the historic 6-2 win at the Bernabéu. In Rome he made history by becoming the first Barça captain to lift the Champions league trophy twice.
Carles Puyol is also a fixture in the Spanish national side, with which he played in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and in the European Championships in 2004 and 2008. In the latter he was key figure as Spain won the title in Vienna.
Carles Puyol started off in the first team at right back but has since developed into a great central defender. He stands out for his tremendous fitness levels and his discipline on the pitch. He's a perfect example of a team player and he never over-complicates the job when he has to cut off an opposing attacking move.
He can also adapt to the left back position when circumstances dictate. Although he is not particularly tall (178 cm), his physical strength makes him very strong in the air and he is capable of man-marking opposing forwards who are taller than him. He also likes to get up in attack, especially for corners and free kicks.
More than anything else, Carles Puyol is a reference point for the rest of the squad due to his character and qualities of leadership and because of his pride in the Barca colours and his total identification with the Club.
2009/10 World Club Cup
2009/10 European Super Cup
2009/10 Spanish Super Cup
2008/09 Champions League
2008/09 Copa del Rey
2006/07 Spanish Super Cup
2005/06 Champions League
2005/06 Spanish Super Cup
Spanish national team
2008 European Championship
2000 Silver medal. Sidney Olympic Games