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Barcelona captain Carles Puyol set to announce retirement today?

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Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has called a press conference for later this afternoon where he is expected to announce his retirement from football.

In a statement on their official website, the Spanish club said: "The FC Barcelona captain will be speaking to the media from the Ciutat Esportiva pressroom."

"A live English language translation will be streamed on the club website."

The media have been informed that no questions will be permitted.

The 35-year-old made his debut for the Catalan club back in 1999 and has led the team through the most successful spell in their history, helping to capture six La Liga titles, three Champions League trophies and two Spanish cups.

However the defender has found his time on the pitch severely limited in recent seasons thanks to a string of injuries.

He's made just five La Liga appearances for Barcelona this season, while he's played just 61 league games in the last four seasons.

Previous reports have suggested that Puyol was ready to call it a day, and last week Spanish newspaper Sport claimed that the defender had accepted the fact that he could no longer compete at the top level and would announce his retirement soon.

Should the Barcelona veteran call it quits with immediate effect later today then he will at least go out on a high.

He scored in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Almeria on Sunday to help them move within a point of rivals Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Regardless of Puyol's intentions, Barca are almost certain to be in the market for a new defender at the end of the season having failed to land one last summer.

Midfielder Javier Mascherano has largely been the man to fill in during Puyol's absence, and Barcelona are likely to target a specialist when the summer window opens.

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