Barcelona could badly do with a defender like Carles Puyol this season.
The Blaugrana have conceded the second most goals of any of La Liga’s top six sides, letting in 12 more than Real Madrid.
Back in Puyol’s day, the skipper managed to lead a much sturdier back line that in no way compromised his team going forward.
The former Spain international, who celebrates his 42nd birthday today, had a career matched by few.
Winning the 2008 European Championships and the 2010 World Cup during La Roja’s period of dominance, those exploits were also matched at domestic level.
With Barca, he lifted the La Liga title six times, won three Champions Leagues, three UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cups.
Of course, he shouldn’t just be measured in terms of trophies won either.
Puyol was coolness personified. A master defender, he could time a tackle to its very inch.
It’s testament to the precision with which he won the ball that despite his position, he only ever found himself sent off once.
But BT Sport have unearthed some even greater evidence by compiling a video of some of his best tackles, goalline clearances, and last-ditch interceptions. Check it out below:
Whereas many of his contemporaries like Andres Iniesta and Xavi eventually left Camp Nou in their later years, Barcelona were exceptionally lucky that Puyol stayed with the club until he finally hung up his boots in 2014.
As he ages another year, there’s nothing for the nostalgia quite like reminiscing about some of his greatest showcases of defending from one of the finest centre-backs ever to grace the pitch.
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