Puyol (football), Navarro (basketball), Tomás (handball), Egurrola (roller hockey) and Torras (futsal) are added value captains. They are all Catalans who learned the game at the club and feel the Barça colours like any other fan
BARÇA MAGAZINE this October brings together Carles Puyol (football), Juan Carlos Navarro (basketball), Víctor Tomás (handball), Aitor Egurrola (roller hockey) and Jordi Torras (futsal). The five professional captains are all Catalans who learned the game at the club and feel the Barça colours like any other fan.
Puyol: “A pride and privilege”
They are Catalan, but their stories are all different. Puyol has just started his ninth season as first team captain, bringing him level with the ‘great captain’ Joan Segarra. Puyol can’t believe time has flown by so quickly. “Have I been here that long? Being Barça captain is a pride and privilege, and if you feel the colours then the satisfaction is multiplied. The most important thing is the respect of your team mates, for them to feel that you are somebody who represents them and defends them, for them to feel that you’ll never let them down. And the same thing goes for the institution. Being captain, you feel that you represent the best club in the world”.
Navarro, more than anyone
Juan Carlos Navarro has been at Barça longer than any of the other captains. He arrived in 1991 (Puyol came in 1995, the same year as Egurrola; Torras in 1996 and Tomás in 1998), and made his first team debut in November 1997. Navarro has spent every year of career at the club except for the one season, 2007/08, when he played in the NBA at the Memphis Grizzlies alongside his close friend Pau Gasol. “Being captain of Barça is very special, but I have been a member of the club for years and I have always felt I’m an important player, whether or not I’m captain” he says.
In the summer of 2011 he took over from Roger Grimau and has added the Liga Endesa, the ACB Supercup and the Catalan league to the club’s trophy haul. “In fact, being captain is one of the things I consider least important. The titles are won by the team, I just lift them up” he modestly adds.
Tomàs: “My role won’t change much”
Víctor Tomás also played for the Barça youth teams and is now wearing the captain’s armband previously donned by Laszlo Nagy. Aged 26 years, he is thoroughly looking forward to the challenge, which is even greater due to his being a Barça man at heart. But he is also aware of the responsibility of “always presenting an impeccable image.” A charismatic player, Víctor Tomàs has a winning mentality and puts everything he can into his game. “On court my role within the team won’t change much. I have never been a player to hide myself, through difficult times I accept responsibilities. Perhaps my role with change a bit now with respect to referees, but otherwise I’ll behave the same as ever, with the same force and fury as always”.
Egurrola, another new captain
Aitor Egurrola is also making his debut as captain this year, and feels honoured to take over from a living legend of the game of roller hockey, Beto Borregán, who was captain for five years and played for Barça for 18. Aitor joined the club at the age of 15, and has been in the first team for 13 years. “I never thought I’d be captain, to be honest. But it happened after Beto retired. I learned a lot from him and Gaby Cairo, especially about how to unite the players, and how to agglutinate the players around you. Players can be egotistical, and as a captain you have to think about the group rather than individuals. A good captain has to consider everyone’s problems and make them problems for their colleague to help deal with”.
Torras: “There is no club like this one”
Jordi Torras is the new futsal captain. After spending seven years away from the club, from 2003 to 2010, he especially values the faith shown in him. He left in search of more ambitious professional targets at a time when FCB didn’t have a futsal team of the same level that it does now. So Torras has seen the before and after of the section. “I was at Barça for the first era for seven years, but it is totally different now. It used to be semi professional, with many difficulties, but a lot has been done for futsal since then and the fruits are starting to show. I could describe the changes by saying that there is no club quite like this one”.