Carles Puyol will call time on his playing career with FC Barcelona on June 30. The player gave an impassioned press conference today, but managed to keep his own emotions under control as he thanked all of those who played a part in his career at Camp Nou.
Immediate plans: “One of my main concerns is to ensure my knee recovers and for that to happen, I need to rest. I will have a lot to do during these next few weeks. I need to speak to my partner. I’ve spoken with the club but there haven’t been any new developments. I have been preparing myself to play and to be with the team. Now I have to focus on making sure I am well. I don’t see myself going into coaching at the moment. The idea is to be involved in some other capacity at the club.
Next generation: “I would tell the young players that they should enjoy every day - that they are privileged. Playing at Camp Nou is one of the greatest things that can happen to a footballer. My father once told me that if Barça were ever to let me go, it should never be because I hadn’t given my all. That’s what the next generation must do – fight until the end. I gave everything I had for Barça and football”.
Retirement: “I feel sad that I haven’t been able to help the team out on the pitch which is where I wanted to be. If I haven’t been able to do that here, it’s very unlikely that I would be able to do it somewhere else. I would like to make sure my knee recovers so that I can continue playing sport. I will tell my daughter that I had the chance to realize the dreams of millions of children and I will pass on to her the values which I learned here. I am excited by the prospect of continuing at the club but never as a coach”.
Lasting impressions: “It’s amazing to step out into Camp Nou and see the fans. That’s incredible but it can also be overwhelming. When I first came here for a trial, all I wanted to do was enjoy the experience”.
Finest moment as a player: “When [Éric] Abidal lifted the Champions League trophy – for everything it meant. He deserved that more than anybody”.
League title race: “I hope we win it, the one thing I am sure of is that we will give everything we’ve got. We are motivated and ready to fight for the title. I would like Barça to win the league for the coach and so we can dedicate it to Tito Vilanova. The results were not as good as we would have liked but we are still in with a chance. I won’t be playing against Atlético. The coaching staff know that a trophy is in play and I won’t even be on the subs’ bench”.
Motivational speech ahead of the Atlético game: “I don’t think I should or need to give a speech. If we are all united, we can win the league”.
Successor in the dressing room: “They are several players who are ready to take over – Xavi, Iniesta... the captain’s armband will be in good hands”.