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23.09.2008 13:50

Four home-grown captains


The first team squad has decided today on the team captains, who will be, in order of preference, Puyol, Xavi, Valdés and Iniesta. Curiously, all four of these choices are players that came up through the Barça youth system.

Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Victor Valdés and Andrés Iniesta are the four Barça captains, as revealed today by Pep Guardiola at a press conference: “Carles Puyol has told me that they now know who the captains will be. Truth is, there were a lot of players that wanted to lend a hand. I have stayed out of the matter, because I am just happy that everybody wanted to get involved and that they are able to sort out any problems between themselves, should they arise”.

Home-bred leadership

QM3D8966.jpgAll four of the nominees came up through the club’s own youth system, something which is becoming a common factor at the club since Puyol was made third-choice captain in the 2003/04 season. He deputised under Luis Enrique and Cocu, eventually becoming the first choice after those two players left, when his own deputies were named as Xavi and Ronaldinho. Now that the Brazilian has left for Milan, Valdés and Iniesta have been made the third and fourth choice captains, making for a full house of locally produced talent wearing the captain’s armband.

Valdés has past experience

fcb-vilarreal-coparey.jpgAlthough this was his first official nomination, Victor Valdés has donned the captain’s armband before. That was on January 31, 2008, in the return leg of the Copa del Rey quarter final between FC Barcelona and Villarreal (1-0). Valdés took over from Carles Puyol when the latter went off with a 45th minute injury. Ronaldinho was not in the squad, and the third choice, Xavi, was on the bench – although when he did come on in the 67th minute, the midfielder took over from the goalkeeper as captain.

The first time he actually started a game as captain was at home to Osasuna on February 3, 2008. Puyol was still out through injury, and neither Ronaldinho nor Xavi were in the starting eleven.

Zubizarreta, keeper and captain

Victor Valdés is not the first goalkeeper to captain Barça. In 1988/89, Andoni Zubizarreta took over in the role from Víctor, and remained in the position for the following five years, when it was eventually passed on to Bakero in the 1993/94 season.
Four home-grown captains
Guardiola a former captain
In 1997, the present team manager, Guardiola, was named Barça captain for the first time – a role he maintained all the way though to the 2000/01 season.

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