In an interview with Sport, Carles Puyol sat down to talk about multiple things, most of them revolving around the sport and FC Barcelona which soon trickled down to Lionel Messi and his aborted departure from his beloved club. The former central defender also spoke about his good friend Iker Casillas and remembered the good years of the El Clasico.
Barcelona’s ex-captain shared his thoughts about Messi wanting to leave Camp Nou and how it saddened him. Of course, as a Culé, no one would like seeing Leo leave the club, but Puyol understood his former teammates’ decision. He compared the Argentine’s situation with his own when he was in his thirties at Barça. He explained that he had offers from Italian and English clubs, but didn’t want to leave Barça for another European club, much like Andrés Iniesta when he left for Japan in 2018. Puyol also stated that the board always showed support towards him, but in the end, it was the injuries that made him give up.
“As a Culé, I didn’t want Messi to leave, but it is football.”Carles Puyol
On the other hand, Leo Messi wanted to leave because of the lack of project at his boyhood club; something Puyol didn’t taste as much as he left in 2014 – same year Josep Maria Bartomeu won the elections. Messi’s transfer saga was a long one, and it kept every Culé awake until his long-awaited interview with Goal.
Puyol, like every Barca fan, wanted Leo to stay at Camp Nou. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Moving away from Messi, Puyol was asked about his favourite moments against Madrid, also stating that Iker Casillas, as a Madridista, would’ve surely loved to see Messi leave Camp Nou. Of every El Clasico games he played, the former defender chose the 6-2 win at the Santiago Bernabéu in 2009, where his partner in central defence – Gerard Pique – ended on the scoresheet.
Puyol also talked about his first Clasico, which ended in a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou. The 6-2 win in 2009, according to him, was the final nail in the coffin for Madrid, who were beginning to climb up the table.
“My El Clasico debut came in a 2-2 at Camp Nou, but if I have to choose any one, I’d choose the 6-2 win at the Bernabéu.”Carles Puyol
When asked about his Spain years, in which he won the 2008 European Championships and the 2010 World Cup, Puyol recalled Casillas captaincy during those tenures. According to the 42-year-old, San Iker always embraced his teammates’ advice, and this understanding helped Spain massively in the tournaments they won. As Puyol said, this is the “most important value” to have in a team.
“If a team isn’t united, it’s difficult to fulfill the objective.”Carles Puyol
Speaking about the Ballon d’Or, Puyol said that he refused to believe that “goals make the difference”, even though Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo led the scoring charts, making them the favourites for every Ballon d’Or. He also mentioned that the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta were crucial to this operation as they helped put the team first.