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Why Puyol's Return Will Spur Barcelona to Champions League and La Liga Glory

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 22:  Carles Puyol of FC Barcelona reacts during the round of last 16 Copa del Rey second leg match between FC Barcelona and L'Hospitalet at Camp Nou on December 22, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images
Nathan JudahCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2012

Carles Puyol is on the brink of signing a contract extension that will see him finish his career with the Catalan giants.

With Jordi Alba now fully acquainted with his new surroundings and Neymar touted to be the next big move, Puyol may yet be the best signing Tito Vilanova will make.

Of course new signings bring added excitement and expectation to a club but more often than not, experience and knowledge are the most important keys to success.

And that’s exactly what Carles Puyol is all about.   

Five La Liga titles, five Spanish Super Cups, two Copa del Rey’s and three Champions League triumphs are the highlights of what has been a glittering club career.

But what makes Puyol so special as a player is his will to win and compete for as long as possible at the highest level.

At 34, no one would have blamed the Spanish international if he decided to hang up his boots, especially after missing Euro 2012 through injury.

But like any winner, setbacks at club and country level has only meant unfinished business for the centre-back.

Losing La Liga and Champions League titles to Real Madrid and Chelsea respectively has lit a flame of revenge.

And while question marks remain over certain stars' futures such as Victor Valdes and Gerard Pique, the only worry for Puyol was whether he could maintain the elite standard he has set himself throughout his Hall of Fame career.

When looking back at last season, the stats do not lie. Despite missing some playing time through knee injuries, the defender registered his most goals (five) and assists (eight) of his 16-year career.

Respect is also hugely important at a club like Barcelona and with Pep Guardiola now gone, many look to the views and ideologies of their captain to take the team forward.

He has been a vocal backer of the new Vilanova regime and that is hugely important to the new coach.

He is nicknamed “The Wall” for a reason and you can bet the challenge of regaining Champions League and La Liga crowns is more than enough for Puyol to continue his legacy.

With Barca entering a new uncertain era under their new manager, the transition is just that bit smoother with a father figure like Puyol still very much involved.

So while Messi and co. continue to grab the headlines in their quest to win back their titles that are currently out on loan, don’t forget about the stalwart at the back who calls the shots!

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