Carles Puyol Saforcada (born April 13, 1978 in La Pobla de
Segur, Lleida) is a Catalan footballer who is the current
captain of FC Barcelona. He has established himself as one of
the best defenders in Spain and is a regular in the Spanish
Puyol is a tough, aggressive defender who has the versatility to
play both as a full-back and in the centre. His whole-hearted
approach makes him a favourite at his club side, Barcelona.
Puyol is a vital member of Rijkaard's team and his tactical
ability and know-how also means he is not a man to pick up many
yellow cards or, indeed, injuries, both of which factors have
meant that he is an ever present in both Europe and domestic
Puyol played for Spain at the 2000 Olympics, 2002 World Cup and
Euro 2004 and has been capped over 30 times. His attacking
mentality is a result of his playing as a striker in the early
years in his boyhood club La Pobla de Segur, after injury
problems with his shoulders forced him from his original
position of goalkeeper.
He has also played for the Catalan football team in one
He went to Barca B at age 17 in 1996 and in 1999 Coach Louis Van
Gaal put him into the first team and his debut came on 2
November 1999 against Valladolid, a game FC Barcelona won 0-2.
He started as a regular for Barcelona in the right back position
but has very successfully converted to center-back and is now
regarded as one of the top center-backs in the world.
He was first chosen as the captain for Barcelona in the 2003-04
season. In the absence of Raśl due to injury, Puyol has also
been called upon to captain the Spanish national team.