Carles Puyol Appointed Assistant Sporting Director at Barcelona

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2014

FC Barcelona's Carles Puyol smiles, during a press conference at the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Puyol reluctantly quit football on Thursday,  his knees no longer able to endure the demands of the Barcelona defense after 15 years, the most successful period in the club's history. (AP Photo)
Uncredited/Associated Press

Barcelona's Carles Puyol is hanging up his boots to join the club's Football Department as Assistant Sporting Director starting next September, according to a statement made by the club.

ESPN FC reported the breaking news:

The former defender became a club symbol during his time with the Blaugrana, and in a statement released by the club's official website, he expressed his gratitude with this new opportunity:

I want to thank FC Barcelona for all that it has given me before and for this chance that has arisen now. 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.

Andoni Zubizarreta, who runs Barcelona's Football Department, couldn't hide his excitement over the latest addition to his team:

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.

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.

Puyol announced his retirement from the Spanish national team in 2013 and informed team officials he planned on leaving the club at the conclusion of the 2013-14 seasons, despite having two more years left on his contract.

Initially expected to move abroad, the veteran defender decided to call it quits on a phenomenal career that saw him win a World Cup, three Champions League titles, six La Liga titles and three selections to the FIFA/FIFPro World XI.

For him to continue his career in a new role at the club he so loves is only fitting, as shared by The Sun:

Rafael Hernandez perhaps took his admiration for the player a little too far:

BBC's Andy West believes this move is just the first step Puyol will take within the club's hierarchy:

Puyol is expected to bring his intensity and enthusiasm with him to his new job, and the former La Masia graduate knows the club as well as anyone.

Lauded for his work ethic, leadership skills and vision as a player, he seems to have all the traits required to make for an excellent assistant, and perhaps even a manager at some point down the road.

Fans will be happy to learn one of their favourite players and club symbols won't be going anywhere anytime soon, making this move a win-win situation for everyone.

Zubizarreta had faced some back-lash from the fans in recent weeks over the team's inability to win silverware in 2013-14, the first time this happened in six years. Those same fans were happy to learn the director will now have to account for Puyol:

Gerardo Martino lost his position as manager at the club, and he was replaced by Luis Enrique, another former club legend who played more than 200 matches for the Blaugrana.

By filling both vacant positions with men who contributed greatly to the club's history, Barcelona are sending out a strong signal. Not only are they remembering their history and the players who made them great, but the Blaugrana have renewed the commitment to excellence that drove the club to record-breaking heights in the last six years.




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