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May 15, 2014

Emotional Barcelona farewell for Puyol

Carles Puyol says he has no intention of looking for another club this summer when he leaves Barcelona having been unable to recover from the serious knee problems which have troubled him for over two seasons now.

Carles Puyol recently signed a new Barca contract until June 2016
Carles Puyol has won six Liga titles and three Champions League trophies with Barcelona.

• Tomas: One final title push
• Ledwith: A golden chance

At an emotional event at the Camp Nou on Thursday Puyol confirmed that he was leaving the Camp Nou club after 15 years, but had not yet made up his mind on the next step in his career.

The 36-year-old told reporters that having been unable to feature much in Barcelona's campaign this term, and having announced in March that he would be leaving the club, he did not feel he would be able to contribute elsewhere in the future.

"The idea now is to recover," Puyol said. "This year I have played so few games, I have felt bad, unable to help the team when they needed me. So it would be difficult to play somewhere else.

"I will try and sort out knee problems, not to play, but to have a full life, be able to run, play Padel. At the moment I cannot do that."

Puyol explained that he had extensively tried to find a solution to the issues with his knee, but it had not been possible to recover -- and he would not ask for a dramatic send-off by playing in Saturday's title decider against Atletico Madrid.

"I am not going to play [on Saturday]," he continued. "I have spoken with the coaches. We are fighting for the title, I am not 100 percent, not even for bench. As I said some months ago the knee problems have not gone.

"I have tried everything, but my stage as a Barca player will end on June 30. I will not give in; I will keep trying, now without the pressure of having to play."

During a heartfelt address, the former Spain international said he did not see himself as a future blaugrana coach, but did not rule out returning to the club in some capacity in the future.

"I have won a lot of trophies, but most important is the human part of this club," Puyol said. "I have lived the dream of many children for 19 years. The most important now is to prepare for what I want to do.

"I do not think that being a coach is what I'd like most. Maybe some other area of club, but I have not decided anything yet."

Puyol denied that his exit -- and that of long-serving goalkeeper Victor Valdes -- marked the end of an era for the Camp Nou club.

"This is the end for me, and for Victor, but not for them," he continued. "The other players are still young, with lots of quality. For sure they will keep winning."

The event was attended by Barca's current squad, previously exiled club legend Johan Cruyff, as well as past presidents including Joan Laporta and Jose Luis Nunez -- but ex-chief Sandro Rosell was reportedly unable to make it due to other commitments.

Louis van Gaal, Patrick Kluivert, Demetrio Albertini, Luis Enrique, Pep Guardiola, Eric Abidal, Gerardo Martino and veteran physio Angel Mur also appeared in a video screening.

Xavi Hernandez, next in line to take over as club captain if he stays on for the 2014-15 season, spoke of Puyol's career from the podium.

"All us players thank you for everything -- your courage, sacrifice, generosity," Xavi said. "You were always giving advice, help... You're the best professional I have ever shared a dressing room with, by far -- both before we were winning trophies and during our successful times."

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