Puyol and Gattuso in 2005/06 / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

You have to go right back to September 2000 to find a match between FC Barcelona and AC Milan without Carles Puyol. Since then, the two sides have met nine times and in each of those matches there’s been one common factor – the presence of Carles Puyol.

The Barça captain has never hidden his admiration for the Italian giants and has even called them his ‘second’ team. He made his first appearance in a duel between the two sides on 18th October 2000 in the San Siro in a match that featured a Rivaldo ‘hat-trick’ and finished 3-3.

From Shevchenko to Giuly

Over the years, Puyol has done battle with many great forwards wearing the colours of AC Milan but, speaking in an interview with www.fcbarcelona.cat he did not hesitate to single out Andriy Shevchenko as the player who created the greatest headaches. In fact, the only defeat Puyol has suffered against Milan in all this time was thanks to a goal by the Ukrainian international in the 2004/05 season.

On the plus side, he’s been able to celebrate four victories, including a memorable Champion league semi-final win in the 2005/06 season. A goal from the French international Giuly gave Barça a slight advantage which they then cemented with a goalless draw in the Camp Nou to go through to the final in Paris.

Eight starts in nine matches

As well as appearing in all nine matches played against Milan in the last decade or so, Puyol has featured in the starting line-up in eight of them. The only exception was last year’s group stage match in the Camp Nou in which he came on as a substitute in the 67th minute. It was a special moment for the Catalan defender in that it meant his comeback after a three-month absence due to a knee injury.

PUYOL’s MATCHES AGAINST AC MILAN

- FCB v Milan (3-1). Return leg quarterfinal Champions League 2011/12
- Milan v FCB (0-0). First leg quarterfinal Champions League 2011/12
- Milan v FCB (2-3). Champions League group stage 2011/12
- FCB v Milan (2-2). Champions League group stage 2011/12
- FCB v Milan (0-0). Return leg semi-final Champions League 2005/06
- Milan v FCB (0-1). First leg semi-final Champions League 2005/06
- FCB v Milan (2-1). Champions League group stage 2004/05
- Milan v FCB (1-0). Champions League group stage 2004/05
- Milan v FCB (3-3). Champions League first group stage 2000/01

A soft spot for Milan

Carles Puyol told the Barça website that he has admired Milan since he was a boy: “It was a team that won everything. They were coached by Sacchi and had players like Maldini, Baresi and Costacurta”.