Cruyff: “Puyol could easily have played in the Dream Team”
“His life isn’t going to stop, he’s 35 – he’s got many years ahead of him and he has so much knowledge to share,” said the former player and coach.
Johan Cruyff believes that had Carles Puyol started out earlier, he could have been a part of the mythical ‘Dream Team’ Barcelona side of the late 80s, early 90s. Cruyff, who was joined by Fernando Hierro, José Antonio Camacho and Iván de la Peña amongst others at Puyol’s farewell press conference today, advised the Blaugrana skipper to do whatever he feels most comfortable doing when he eventually hangs up his boots for good next month.
“I’m sure Puyol could have played for the Dream Team,” said Cruyff, making his first appearance at an official club event in almost four years. The ex-player and coach, who fell out with the current Barça board, didn’t want to enter into any problems as he added, “I’ve always been on the side of the players. I will always be there to support a player, if they want me to”.
Fernando Hierro and Puyol were on rival sides at club level but were team mates in the national team. “With Carles, we shared our experience with Spain as players and later, when I was the national team’s Director of Sport and it was always positive; it’s in Carles’ character to help, to collaborate – he is an example to everyone, to all defenders both young and old. He is an example as a professional and as a person. I’ve come along today to give him a hug – on his farewell day, I had to be here to share it with him”.
Camacho meanwhile, added, “Puyol has a vast understanding and knowledge about football and the ability to transmit that so I have a feeling he will be linked with the game in some way or another. To start and end your career at the same club, like he has done at Barça and I did at Real Madrid isn’t common at all in the current game. He has shown extraordinary strength to continue playing at the top level right up until he turned 36. He’s an exceptional talent and Barcelona should not let him escape”.