Barcelona’s fearless captain put aside early-season concerns about his future to excel in 2009/10. He started the season with only months remaining on his contract, and the club had just spent £20m on young defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy.
Puyol only agreed a three-year extension in October on the proviso he could leave for £9m if he did not play but he is a Barcelona institution and his place was never in doubt.
Initially a goalkeeper, he started out in Barca’s youth system as a winger but was given his first senior appearance at right-back by then coach Louis van Gaal.
Puyol won his first silverware in 2005 after becoming captain. And has led his beloved club to four league titles and two Champions League crowns.
The 32-year-old has appeared in two previous World Cups and two European Championships. He formed a formidable defensive partnership with Carlos Marchena at Euro 2008, with both players named in Uefa’s team of the tournament after conceding only three goals on the way to the title.
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