A major contributor to Spain’s victory at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Carles Puyol announced after the tournament that he would be calling time on his international career. 

 

After listening to the pleas of his coach and team-mates, however, the inspirational centre-half decided to stay on for four more years, his objective being to chalk up 100 international caps and make it to Brazil 2014. Having achieved the first of those goals, Puyol is now aiming for the second, though injuries have proved a major handicap for the Barcelona man in recent times, causing him to miss UEFA EURO 2012.

 

Now 35, Puyi is nevertheless determined to battle on. Never anything less than totally committed at the heart of the defence, he is also an effective performer on the flanks and a fearsome opponent in the air. Loyal to the spirit of the game and a calming presence, he is a born leader both for his country and club, for whom he has played throughout his entire career, lifting virtually every trophy in the game in the process.

 

He made his full international debut in November 2000, shortly after winning a silver medal in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament at Sydney that year. Since then he has appeared at three successive FIFA World Cup finals and two UEFA EURO tournaments (Portugal 2004 and Austria and Switzerland 2008).