Carles Puyol is one of a select group of high-profile footballers who is able to look back on his career and say to himself ‘I made the most of the talent I was given’.
The former Barcelona captain wasn’t the most talented defender of his generation, but few were more committed than the warrior-like Catalan.
"I don't have Romário's technique, [Marc] Overmars' pace or [Patrick] Kluivert's strength. But I work harder than the others,” Puyol once said, per Goal. “I’m like the student who is not as clever, but revises for his exams and does OK in the end."
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In truth, Puyol probably underestimated his own talent. While he was undoubtedly more committed than most of his peers, he matched many of them in terms of ability.
You don’t play for Barcelona if you’re not talented. Moreover, you don’t consistently win the biggest trophies in football - league titles, European Cups, international titles - unless you’re a very good player.
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Video: Puyol scores outrageous goal in futsal match
Puyol was capable of pulling off the odd trick during matches - training with the likes of Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi must have helped on that front - as well as flying into tackles and organising his teammates.
Two years after retiring from football and it seems Puyol has been working hard on fine-tuning some of his skills during his spare time.
The defender took part in a futsal match in Kuwait over the weekend and scored an outrageous back-heeled goal that Messi, Ronaldinho, Neymar or any of the other superstars he previously played with would have been proud of.
Puyol's life after retirement
Rather than enter the unforgiving world of coaching, Puyol has taken the unusual step of setting up his own football agency.
"We have created a business to represent players with Ivan de la Pena and Ramon Sostres." Puyol was quoted as saying by ESPN. "Ivan is a football fanatic -- he loves to discover talents, he spends his days watching players. He talked to me about Neymar and [Philippe] Coutinho when they were 14, and about Douglas Costa. Ramon is someone I trust, he will take charge of the legal, contractual and tax part."
He added: "My job will be to transmit, using my experience, my knowledge, with the intention of making the player more professional," he said. "I want to be a 'life-coach' who helps them to think, to make decisions, to manage their emotions with intelligence in difficult situations.
"I don't want to be an invisible coach. I want to provide guidelines to solve problems, coming from the base I have, as I had to work a lot considering I did not play at Barca until I was 17. I didn't have the information of the kids today."
Is Carles Puyol one of the best defenders of all time? Have your say by leaving a comment below.