Barcelona Title Win Would Be Fitting Send-off for Carles Puyol

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

Will Puyol win one last trophy with Barca?
Will Puyol win one last trophy with Barca?Uncredited/Associated Press

Carles Puyol has done a lot over the years for Barcelona and now it's time for them to do something for him.

The veteran defender cannot play in the La Liga title decider on Saturday night and will watch helplessly from the sidelines as his final season as a Barcelona player draws to a close.

You will know the situation already.

Barcelona must win the game to lift the title; any other result and their opponents Atletico Madrid will be triumphant.

It has been a bizarre season for the Catalan giants, mostly in negative ways.

Some find it hard to believe they are still in contention going into the final day, given how badly they have played.

While Atletico Madrid have been praised highly, Barcelona have been criticised.

But if Tata Martino's men win on the final day, then they will have earned La Liga, there is no doubt about it.

Tata Martino's men have been chasing glory in a round-about way.
Tata Martino's men have been chasing glory in a round-about way.Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

Domestic campaigns are not like cup competitions, where luck plays a huge part.

The team that wins the league always deserves it.

So Barcelona's stars, who have mostly all won titles before with the club, must group together and put in the performance of their season to beat Atletico.

The spirit they conjured to beat Madrid 4-3 at the Bernabeu earlier this year must be conjured up once more.

Even if another league title doesn't interest them a lot individually, as has appeared at times this season, then they have to do it for Puyol.

He is a player who would never let his concentration slip as badly as Barcelona have collectively done so this term.

Puyol is motivated, driven and determined.

Puyol will be remembered as a Barca legend.
Puyol will be remembered as a Barca legend.Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

Barcelona have missed him this season, restricted to a handful of appearances because of injuries.

But in typical Puyol fashion, if Barcelona win the league, then El Capitan says it will not be for him but for Martino and the departed Tito Vilanova.

As per Marca, he said:

My teammates will give it their all and the fans will help us be strong. We have a reason to fight. I would personally feel extremely happy for the manager (Martino), who has been an example for everyone, and also for Tito Vilanova.

He [Martino] has also been by my side and you appreciate that when you are having a bad time. It's really hard to take what has happened this season. I haven't been able to play as much as I would have liked (due to injury). I've tried everything.

Asked if he will be giving a motivational speech to the team before the final game of the season, against Atletico, as per AS, Puyol replied: "I don’t think I should or need to give a speech. If we are all united, we can win the league."

However, while it may be true that the squad should need no extra motivation for such an important game, it's difficult to imagine Puyol refusing to step into the breach one more time as the team's captain.

After he quits in the summer, it's likely either Xavi or Andres Iniesta will receive the armband from him.

Both players are part of the fabric of the club, but neither has the motivational qualities of Puyol.

Of the two, Xavi is the more likely and the better leader.

Xavi (left) could be Barca's next captain.
Xavi (left) could be Barca's next captain.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

He frequently speaks to the press after Barcelona matches in cool, composed fashion.

However, at 34, it may only be a short-term captaincy.

In this game of games on Saturday night, perhaps we will see someone else step up and make a case to become Barcelona's leader.

Given the discipline and organisation that Diego Simeone employs with his Atletico side, Barcelona will need something special to break them down and get the result they require.

A result for Tito, a result for Tata but also a result for Puyi.