SOCCER

Puyol to leave Barcelona at end of season

Thirty-five-year-old defender says recent injuries forced him to make decision

Carles Puyol during Tuesday's press conference.
Carles Puyol during Tuesday's press conference.LLUIS GENE / AFP

Barcelona defender Carles Puyol has said that he is to leave the club at the end of the season. The 35-year-old player, whose contract runs until 2016, explained that he had taken the decision owing to the physical problems he has suffered in recent months. He explained that he does not yet know what his future will be.

“I am going to leave Barcelona as a player,” he said during a press conference on Tuesday. “The club knows it, as well what and how it will be done, and I will terminate the contract, on which I have two years left.”

Accompanying him at the news conference, which lasted barely 90 seconds, were Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, as well as those members of the first team who had not been called up for international duty this week – including Gerard Piqué, José Manuel Pinto, Marc Bartra, Cristian Tello, Martín Montoya, Ibrahim Afellay, Adriano, Oier Olazábal and Jonathan dos Santos.

“After the last two injuries, it was more difficult than I had expected, and from what the surgeons had told me,” he said. “But I want to make it clear that I am not leaving today - rather there are months of competition remaining and I will try to help to achieve this season’s targets.”

Puyol arrived at Barcelona in 1995 from his hometown club of Pobla and made his first team debut against Valladolid in 1999. Since then he has played around 600 matches for the club, winning six Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and two King’s Cups, among other trophies. He is also a European Championship and World Cup winner with the Spanish national side.

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