Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has given an in-depth interview to UEFA.com while on the Colombian leg of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour.
Puyol on … childhood
Football was my passion. I could never have dreamt of the kind of career I had, but I was always happy with the ball in my hands or at my feet. Sometimes I played as a goalkeeper with my brother and his friends – they were all older and nobody wanted to go in goal so it had to be me! My memories from childhood always involve a football.
It’s almost a dream career. To start off young, go through the ranks and to captain the side you’ve always supported for ten years, winning all the titles you could – I couldn’t ask for more. It’s something I take a lot of pride in. It was an honour.
For me it’s a fantastic, wonderful competition. I always dreamt about playing in and winning it. Winning one Champions League title is a dream come true, so just imagine winning three!
Puyol on … playing with Ronaldinho
It’s always better to have those kind of players on your side! We were in a tricky period when he signed – four years without winning anything – but then he arrived with his smile, quality, style of play and way of understanding life. He took the pressure off everything, was happy and enjoyed his football. We are all grateful to him for helping to turn the situation around. For me he’s one of the most important players in Barcelona’s history.
Puyol on … Josep Guardiola
He’s a coaching visionary, a phenomenon who taught us all a lot and helped us revolutionise football a bit. He created a brilliant side, playing very good football, trying to dominate with the ball. It’s not just what we won but also how we won.
Puyol on … Éric Abidal
I had thought about it in the week before the final. We were in a training camp preparing and just a couple of months beforehand they had detected the illness [liver cancer]. It was a tough blow for the dressing room.
Unfortunately, this illness is [prevalent] throughout society – a lot of people suffer from it. But at all times, right from the start, he kept us going. He fought and to see how he took the news with this optimism, convinced he was going to get over it, little by little until he played in a Champions League final: I don’t think there was anybody better than him to lift the trophy [after the 2011 UEFA Champions League trophy].