Carles Puyol began his footballing career in the local team of the small town where he was born, La Pobla de Segur. His talent soon attracted wider attention and, at the age of 17, he was signed up for the Barca academy at La Masía.
He rapidly became a fixture in Barca B and then progressed to make his debut with the first team on 2nd October 1999 against Valladolid at the orders of Louis Van Gaal. His appearances became more and more frequent until he made the right back position his own. Thanks to his determination to improve and a tremendous work rate, Carles Puyol adapted to the position of central defender.
n the 2003-2004 season, having been chosen as third captain, he played a vital role in the team's sensational run of form that led to the runners-up place in the league. Puyol made 27 appearances in the league and seven in the UEFA Cup.
However, Carles Puyol had to wait until the 2004-05 season to win his first medal with Barca. He was, by then, captain of the first team and an essential part of Frank Rijkaard's league championship winning side. At the end of the season, he finally saw his dream come true of lifting the league trophy in the Nou Camp.
During the 2005-06 season, he played as well as he had the previous year. The Barça captain had the honour of being presented with the league title trophy before the game against Espanyol, before lifting the UEFA Champions League in Paris after the monumental victory against Arsenal in the Saint-Denis Stadium. Puyol only missed five matches all season and none through injury. On three occasions he was rested by coach Frank Rijkaard and was then suspended for the other two games which he did not play in. He also scored one goal as he headed home during the 5-0 victory against Real Sociedad on October 30, 2005.
At the end of the following season in 2006/07 (in which he played in 35 of 38 League games), Carles Puyol suffered the worst injury of his career when the League was already over. He damaged ligaments in his knee in a friendly played in Pretoria on 20 June 2007 and this kept him out until 29 September. Despite missing the first months of the competition, the club captain finally played in 30 League games in the 2007/08 campaign.
In the treble winning season 2008/09, Carles Puyol was once again Barça's most versatile defender. Guardiola used him as a right back in the Champions League final, a left back in the Copa del Rey final and also as centre back in most games. A great utility player, he also showed he can score goals, such as his header in the historic 6-2 win at the Bernabéu. In Rome he made history by becoming the first Barça captain to lift the Champions league trophy twice.
n the 2009-10 season he won his fourth league title. The captain is incredibly consistent and is one of the defenders most used by Pep Guardiola in the heart of defence.
Puyol was less fortunate in 2010/11, where despite winning his fifth league and third Champions League, he only played 27 matches (his fewest appearances since 2000/01). Towards the end of the season, he underwent arthroscopy on his left knee to extract loose cartilage from his femur.
Carles Puyol is also a fixture in the Spanish national side, with which he played in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups and in the European Championships in 2004 and 2008. In the latter he was key figure as Spain won the title in Vienna.
n the summer of 2010 he won the only club or international medal that was missing from his collection. One of the cornerstones of the team, he played in all seven matches and scored the only goal of the semi-final against Germany – a header similar to his goal in the historic 2-6 victory in the Bernabeu.