Carles Puyol has revealed that he considered quitting football while recovering from a knee injury that left him out of action for months.
Puyol is one of the most successful members of the Barcelona squad, with the Spanish international boasting 17 trophies in 12 years with the club.
He missed around half of last season with the Catalan giants due to injury, and underwent an operation on his knee after the campaign finished in June.
But now, as he returns to action for both Spain and Barcelona, Puyol admits he wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to come back and re-find his talent.
"It's been eight months of suffering," Puyol told Spanish news service Antena3. "It was a bad time because I didn't see a solution.
"I lost the strength in the leg and I couldn't play. It even went through my head to have to leave football.''
Barcelona’s rivalry with Real Madrid seems to be climbing to new heights this season, with both clubs vying for domestic and European glory. And Puyol wouldn’t be drawn into a slagging match with their Spanish rivals, insisting that when the two face off, their fighting power makes the derby even more exciting.
"Madrid have few flaws, but their virtue is that they never give up,” he said.
Barcelona currently sit at the top of the La Liga table, with Real Madrid third. Barca are one point ahead of their rivals, and only ahead of second placed Lavante on goal difference.
Real Madrid and Barcelona next meet on December 11, and the encounter will no doubt be as fiery as the last few years have shown.
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