BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona have hired former captain Carles Puyol, whose playing career at his lifelong club was ended by persistent knee trouble at the end of last season, as an assistant to sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta.
“I want to thank FC Barcelona for everything they have given me before and for this opportunity they are giving me now,” Puyol, who will take up his new position in September, said on Barca’s website (www.fcbarcelona.es) on Friday.
“I have always played football and I have tried to do my best and I will do the same here,” added the 36-year-old, who joined the Catalan club’s academy almost 20 years ago.
“I need some time now to rest and continue with the odd bit of knee treatment but I am full of excitement about this new stage in my life.”
Puyol marked the end of his Barca playing career with an emotional news conference this month after winning 21 trophies and the respect of fans, team mates and opponents during a glittering career.
The shaggy-haired defender, a world and European champion with Spain and widely admired for his never-say-die attitude, made his Barca debut under former coach Louis van Gaal and helped them win the Champions League in 2006, 2009 and 2011.
He was a key part of Pep Guardiola’s famed ‘six cups’ side of 2009 that won all the competitions they contested in that calendar year but barely featured last season due to injury, making only five appearances in La Liga.
“We will try to make the most of his experience,” Zubizarreta said on Barca’s website.
“We will make sure he is close to all the teams and it is a unique opportunity,” added the former Barca and Spain goalkeeper.
Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Josh Reich