Carles Puyol began his footballing career in the local team of the small town where he was born, La Pobla de Segur. His talent soon attracted wider attention and, at in the 95-96 season he was signed up for the Barça academy at La Masía.
He rapidly became a fixture in Barça B and then progressed to make his debut with the first team on 2nd October 1999 against Valladolid at the orders of Louis Van Gaal. His appearances became more and more frequent until he made the right back position his own. Thanks to his determination to improve and a tremendous work rate, Carles Puyol adapted to the position of central defender.
That position soon became Puyol’s regular role in the Barça game-plan. In the 2003-2004 season, having been chosen as third captain, he played a vital role in the team's sensational run of form that led to the runners-up place in the league. Puyol made 27 appearances in the league and seven in the UEFA Cup.
However, Carles Puyol had to wait until the 2004-05 season to win his first medal with Barça. He was, by then, captain of the first team and an essential part of Frank Rijkaard's much acclaimed side. At the end of the season, he finally saw his dream come true of lifting the league trophy in the Nou Camp.
During the 2005-06 season, he played as well as he had the previous year. The Barça captain had the honour of offering the league title trophy to the home supporters before the game against Espanyol, before winning the UEFA Champions League in Paris after the monumental victory against Arsenal in the Saint-Denis Stadium. Puyol only missed five matches all season and none through injury.
At the end of the following season of 2006/07 (in which he played in 35 of 38 League games), Carles Puyol suffered the first serious injury of his career in a friendly in Pretoria when the League was already over. He damaged ligaments in his left knee on 20 June 2007 and this kept him out of the side until 29 September. Despite missing the first months of the competition, the club captain finally played in 30 League games in the 2007/08 campaign.
In the treble winning 2008/09 season, Carles Puyol was once again Barça's most versatile defender. Guardiola used him as a right back in the Champions League final, a left back in the Copa del Rey final and also as centre back in most games. A great utility player, he also showed he can score goals, such as his header in the historic 6-2 win at the Bernabéu. In Rome he made history by becoming the first Barça captain to lift the Champions league trophy twice.
In the 2009-10 season he won his fourth league title. The captain is incredibly consistent and was one of the defenders most used by Pep Guardiola in the heart of his defence.
Puyol was less fortunate in 2010/11, where despite winning his fifth league and third Champions League, he only played 27 matches (his fewest appearances since 2000/01). Towards the end of the season, he underwent arthroscopy on his left knee to extract loose cartilage from his femur. At Wembley he made the extraordinary gesture of stepping aside to allow Eric Abidal to lift the fourth European Cup in club history.
In 2011/12, Carles Puyol went on to win the Spanish and European Supercups before taking even greater spoils in the form of the Clubs World Cup and Copa del Rey. It was also his best season ever in terms of goals, with five in his 44 appearances, including two particularly important ones against Real Madrid and Valencia in the quarters and semis of the Copa del Rey, respectively. Both were scored with his head, and helped send the team into the final at the Vicente Calderón.
On February 11, 2012 away to Osasuna, Puyol’s amazing run of 56 games without defeat came to an end. The same season, in the Champions League second leg against AC Milan, he overtook Migueli’s record of 549 matches to become the player with the second most appearances ever for Barça, surpassed only by his team mate Xavi.
Carles Puyol is also a fixture in the Spanish national side, with which he played in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups and in the European Championships in 2004 and 2008. In the latter he was key figure as Spain won the title in Vienna. He missed Euro 2012 though injury.
In the summer of 2010 he won the only club or international medal that was missing from his collection. One of the cornerstones of the team, he played in all seven matches and scored the only goal of the semi-final against Germany – a header similar to his goal in the historic 2-6 victory in the Bernabéu.
2012/13 FC Barcelona 2011/12 FC Barcelona 2010/11 FC Barcelona 2009/10 FC Barcelona 2008/09 FC Barcelona 2007/08 FC Barcelona 2006/07 FC Barcelona 2005/06 FC Barcelona 2004/05 FC Barcelona 2003/04 FC Barcelona 2002/03 FC Barcelona 2001/02 FC Barcelona 2000/01 FC Barcelona 1999/00 FC Barcelona
Debut FCB: R.Valladolid-FC Barcelona (2-2, Lliga), 02/10/1999
FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2010 UEFA Team of the Year: 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 FIFA Team of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2010