Liga - Puyol confirms Barcelona exit in summer

Carles Puyol has confirmed that he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, and suggested that he may even retire completely.

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Liga - Puyol confirms Barcelona exit in summer
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Barcelona's Carles Puyol celebrates a goal against Almeria during their Spanish first division soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona March 2, 2014 (Reuters)

Puyol, 35, has played for Barcelona since 1995 but has only made a handful of appearances in La Liga this campaign as injuries continue to take their toll on his body.

"I want to thank everyone at the club for everything they've done for me," said the defender, who will be 36 in April.

"The reason for this meeting is to communicate that this will be my final season playing for Barcelona."

He then went on to hint at retirement at the end of the current campaign, saying he would make a decision in the summer.

"Since the last few operations I have not been able to get to the level I was at before," he added. "I will never stop helping my team-mates and, when the season is over, we will see what we'll do.

"I'll give a press conference at the end of the campaign to answer any questions you may have."

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Barca's captain for a decade, Puyol has won 15 major trophies in nearly 600 senior appearances with the Catalan club, including three Champions League and six La Liga titles.

Primary a centre-half who can also play at right-back, Puyol has made 100 appearances for Spain since debuting against the Netherlands in 2000, winning the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championships in 2008.

Strong in the air and a great leader, the proud Catalan had been integral as both his club and country became the dominant forces in world football.

But he missed Spain's Euro 2012 triumph with a knee injury, signalling the start of a decline that saw him omitted from the national team squad this week.

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