Puyol takes up new Barcelona role
Former Barcelona defender Carles Puyol says he is looking forward to taking up a new role as an assistant sporting director at the Catalan club.
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Puyol, 36, confirmed at an emotional farewell just over a fortnight ago at the Camp Nou that he would not play again in a Barca shirt, having spent the last two years struggling with persistent serious knee problems.
The long-serving former club captain said at that point that he was not sure what his future held, but the club announced on Friday that he would be joining the Blaugrana technical staff to work under current sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta from next September.
Puyol told the club's website that he appreciated the gesture from the club in giving him this new opportunity to contribute to the Barca cause.
"I want to thank FC Barcelona for all that it has given me before and for this chance that has arisen now," he said.
"I will try to the very best I can, and especially to learn a lot. I have always played football and tried to do so as well as possible, and I'll be doing the same with this. Now I need some time to rest and continue treatment on my knee, but I am really looking forward to it. I am very excited about this new stage of my life."
Zubizarreta also told the club's site that his new assistant would play a role in all areas off the pitch, from marketing projects to assessing the current squad's strengths and weaknesses.
"Puyol is joining the Football Department and we will be seeking to exploit and learn from all of his experience. We also want people to realise how much he knows," Zubi said.
"He will be an assistant to the sports management, so he'll be working with me on club projects, both internally and externally. We'll be working in more external areas like marketing and finance, and in the technical secretary area.
"I am sure I'll learn a lot from him. We'll have him close to all the teams, it's a unique opportunity. A couple of years ago we spoke about what would be best for him and I'm sure he'll come to realise that is what he'll enjoy the most."
Puyol won six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues during a 15-year association with Barcelona's first-team, and made close to 400 appearances. He was also capped 100 times by Spain.