Carles Puyol has announced he will quit Barcelona at the end of the current season, bring an end to his 19-year association with the club.
Although the 35-year-old still has two years remaining on his contract at the Camp Nou, he has informed his employers that he feels the time has come for him to take a break from the game after his recent injury problems. The Catalans have agreed to rescind the remainder of his deal, and the defender will spend the summer considering his options.
“I want to announce that at the end of the season I will no longer be a Barcelona player,” Puyol confirmed at a press conference on Tuesday. “There are three months of the season left and I will not give up. After two recent surgeries, it has become harder for me to recover the level that I demand of myself. I don’t know what I will do after June 30. But I’m sure than in the summer I will rest. I would like to have a press conference at the end of the season to say a proper goodbye after a total of 19 years at the club.”
Puyol, who was born in Catalonia, has spent his entire career at his local club, having progressed through the youth ranks to make his first team debut in 1999. He has made almost 600 appearances for the Spanish giants in all competitions, a tally which has only been bettered in the history of the club by team-mate Xavi.
However, the defender would have made even more had it not been for a succession of injuries, of which he has had 36 in the last 16 campaigns. This season, he has been restricted to just five appearances in La Liga, one in the UEFA Champions League, and six in the Copa del Rey. He helped Spain to Euro 2008 glory and the World Cup two years later, and has amassed a grand total of 100 caps for his country, scoring three goals.
As for his honours list at Barca, he has won numerous trophies, including six league titles, three Champions Leagues, two Spanish Cups and two FIFA World Club Cups.