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Breaking: Carles Puyol to Leave Barcelona at End of Season

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Breaking: Carles Puyol to Leave Barcelona at End of Season

2014-03-04 14:11:16

-by Alex Mangini, Staff Writer

Veteran Barcelona defender Carles Puyol announced today his plans to leave the storied Catalan club at the end of this year’s campaign, though he refused to rule out the possibility of continuing his career elsewhere.

The 35-year-old Spanish international has been a rock on the back line for Barcelona for over a decade since coming up through the club’s youth system, amassing close to 600 appearances for the squad. His departure will mark a changing of the guard at Barca, as the iconic defender has battled injuries for much of the last year and a half.

Still, the club’s skipper’s announcement is major news in Catalonia, with his news conference this morning shocking those in attendance and reverberated throughout the international soccer community.

“I am here to announce I am leaving Barcelona at the end of the season,” Puyol said. “The club and I have agreed to rescind the two remaining years on my contract.”

“After two such aggressive operations, it is costing me a lot to recover the level I demand of myself to stay here,” he continued. “Much more than the surgeons told me. This does not mean I am leaving today, there are still three months of competition left. Those who know me know I will keep fighting until the end to help the team achieve its objectives this season.”

Puyol has also been a major star on the international stage, helping Spain to victories in both the Euros and the World Cup.

He did not go so far as to say he would completely retire from the game.

“I do not know what I will do after June 30,” Puyol said. “But for sure I know I will need to rest when the season ends. I have had four years without stopping because of the injuries. That is what I will do. We will see what happens then.”

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