By Nicholas Spiller
Carlos Puyol is an absolute beast of a soccer player. Of course his long and scraggly hair helps to draw such comparisons, but his style of play resembles that of a beast as well. Carlos Puyol simply doesn’t give in. His passion and intensity help lead Barcelona. And how does Barcelona replace someone so valuable emotionally to the team when he leaves the game…
Carlos Puyol is always trying to do his best for the team, and never seems to weaken or slow down. Many people feel that this is a trait that cannot be learned, and that players either have that “never give up” mentality or they don’t.
Well, here is how you can learn it: watch Carlos Puyol and take note of how he plays the game of soccer. Few players have played defense as well as Puyol, and watching a true master like him at work will only serve to help you grow as a player.
The first thing one must understand about Carlos Puyol is that he is fearless. I would presume that he could stare down a lion, and that the lion would run away. Why, you may ask, would a lion cower in the face of an averagely tall man like Puyol? Because Puyol’s mane is even more mighty and intimidating than that of a lion!
But the way he plays resembles such fearlessness as well. Puyol bravely jumps into tackles, fights opponents for headers, and closes down forwards with a surprising speed and intensity. He believes every time that he will win the ball, and he usually does. Playing with such belief is a reason why Puyol has been at the heart of Barcelona’s defense for over a decade!
Additionally, Carlos Puyol is very strong. Although his height is an unimpressive 5’10”, Puyol has explosive strength that allows him to push aside his opponents in the trenches of corner kicks, both offensively and defensively. Take a look at this goal he scored against Germany in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals.
Watch how he plows into a group of players and leaps over everyone to cleanly put in the game-winning goal. German midfielder Sami Khedira is a full 4” taller than Puyol, though Puyol towers a good foot in the air above Khedira as he sends home the winner for his country.
Carlos Puyol is also noted for being one of the hardest workers on the Barcelona team. He has said of himself, “I work harder than the others. I’m like the student who is not as clever, but studies for his exams and does OK in the end.” Such dedication to the cause makes him the player he is.
Additionally, he lives a very quiet life outside of soccer. While other soccer stars enjoy the nightlife and vibrancy of nightclubs, Puyol prefers a peaceful lifestyle full of reading. Such dedication and seriousness is what it takes to become a soccer legend. He has no time for partying beyond the celebrations after winning the World Cup and La Liga championships – that actually leads to quite a few parties since Spain and Barcelona have been so successful.
But his true passion for the beautiful game makes him want to take care of himself and not waste energy at the clubs all night – which is what is said Ronaldinho did while at Barceona.
Carlos Puyol has been dubbed, “The Wall”. He is like an immovable object that one cannot pass. Always sacrificing his body for the team, Puyol routinely makes jarring tackles and game-saving displays of hard work. One thing to note when studying how Puyol plays is how effectively he plays the ball, not the opposing player. He watches the ball and attacks it. If a player gets in the way, then oh well, he will be forced out of the way, but what matters is that the ball doesn’t end up in Puyol’s own net. Watch the hard work and intensity of Carlos Puyol here:
Nicholas Spiller is a freelance soccer writer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org