May 15, 2014, 1:55 PM EST
Despite heavy links to Major League Soccer after previously announcing the end to his Barcelona tenure, defender Carles Puyol instead has decided to retire due to knee injuries.
Puyol spent his entire career with Barcelona, coming through their academy and making his first-team debut in 1999 under Louis van Gaal.
The 36-year-old said today that he has “lived the dream of so many young kids, doing what I most enjoy in life, playing football and training.”
His illustrious career has just about everything a professional player in Europe can accumulate, having won six La Liga titles, three Champions League tournaments, a European championship and a World Cup with Spain where he earned 100 caps.
Puyol earlier this season told supporters he would not be back at Barcelona at the expiry of his contract this summer, which sparked plenty of speculation that he could be on his way to play in the United States. He was also linked to other clubs across Europe, including AC Milan.
However, after just five La Liga appearances this season thanks to knee injuries that wouldn’t go away, Puyol instead decided to hang up his boots and put a cap to a rare career with just one club.
“I’ve won lots of titles but the most important thing is the human warmth and feeling I take from this club,” Puyol said of Barcelona at a press conference attended by the team and management. “I came here as a boy and I’m leaving with a family who I’m really proud of.”
“The one thing I have very clear is that I gave my absolute all for Barcelona and for football and I would like to be remembered as a player who did just that – who gave everything,”
Puyol finishes with 582 total appearances for Barcelona, including 392 La Liga appearances and 124 in the Champions League. He grabbed 19 goals, and was only sent off three times in his entire domestic career.
He added that he does not wish at this time to get into coaching or managing, saying, ” I don’t think I’ll be a coach, it’s not what I’d like most. Maybe I’ll change my mind but for now I want to do other things.”
Club president Josep Bartomeu called Puyol “the best captain in the history of the club” and Lionel Messi said to his former teammate, “I’m lucky to have shared the dressing room with you.”
Dec 18, 2014, 11:50 PM EST
Luke Shaw is ready to make his return after nearly a month out of action.
Dec 18, 2014, 10:21 PM EST
Mix Diskerud is on the move, and he may be headed south of the border.
Dec 18, 2014, 9:14 PM EST
Chicharito isn’t getting games for Real Madrid, but his agent insists he won’t end his loan deal early.
Dec 18, 2014, 7:46 PM EST
It may be 14 years after the fact, but Paul Scholes is owning up to his fault in one of the greatest goals of all-time.
Dec 18, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
Inspired by Monday’s loss, the USWNT were out for vengeance — and goals — against Argentina.
Dec 18, 2014, 4:36 PM EST
Find out who went where in Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Thursday.
Dec 18, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
As we head into the busy festive season, here’s how the rankings of power look before Week 17.
Dec 18, 2014, 2:46 PM EST
Winger set to return to full training, may return to action this Sunday at Anfield.
Dec 18, 2014, 2:11 PM EST
Germany end 2014 on top, as the USMNT sit steady inside the top 30.
Dec 18, 2014, 1:26 PM EST
Balotelli will now miss Liverpool’s match against Arsenal this weekend.
Dec 18, 2014, 12:45 PM EST
Rogers worries about anti-gay laws in Russia, Qatar during World Cup tournaments.
Dec 18, 2014, 11:46 AM EST
Scunthorpe win 14-13 on penalty kicks… really?
Dec 18, 2014, 11:10 AM EST
Klinsmann’s son make six saves, but gets second-yellow as youth side beat Germany.
Dec 18, 2014, 10:17 AM EST
USMNT attacker heading back to MLS.
Dec 18, 2014, 8:50 AM EST
Vegas, baby! New soccer stadium gets seal of approval from city council… all they need now is an MLS expansion franchise.
Dec 18, 2014, 8:19 AM EST
Reus has been speeding around in his Aston Martin without a license. Gets biggest motoring fine in German history.
Dec 18, 2014, 7:54 AM EST
Dig into all the latest gossip, right here.
Dec 17, 2014, 11:13 PM EST
Could Cole be returning to the Premier League?
Dec 17, 2014, 10:35 PM EST
Bad jokes make Christmas.
Dec 17, 2014, 10:10 PM EST
- Paul Scholes: Thierry Henry’s legendary goal vs. Man United was my fault 2
- Premier League Power Rankings: Arsenal, Everton rising, Saints falling 2
- Robbie Rogers: FIFA “insane” to host World Cups in Russia, Qatar 5
- Stoke City confirm Brek Shea is finalizing move to Orlando City 1
- Soccer stadium approved in Las Vegas, as MLS expansion talk heats up in Sin City 3
- Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus fined $665,000 for driving without a license 1