Carles Puyol at Marie Claire España
Reader Michelle thought you all might enjoy this interview with Carles Puyol that appeared in Marie Claire España’s October issue, plus she volunteered to translate it, so I’m posting about this, even though it doesn’t have much to do with La Roja!
The magazine styled Carles in a variety of (at times strange) colorful pants in dubious materials, but they understood the importance of keeping him shirtless, so cheers Marie Claire! Plus, they asked very good questions, so the interview was very interesting.
I wonder if Puyol allowed them to style his hair, or they just decided to let it be?
Anyway, the interview was conducted by model Martina Klein, who also appears with Carles in one picture below.
Football is gaining in popularity across genders, as many of its stars appear in fashion magazines to show off their sculpted bodies and the latest fashions. At Marie Claire, we’ve invited onto our turf one of the greatest footballers in the world, Carles Puyol. He’s won everything, but still wants even more, because he doesn’t understand how anyone could get tired of winning; before victories became habitual for him, there had been a long drought. He was lost, obsessed, deceived and hopeless, but when he finally let go of his obsessions to discover that there was more to life than football, he began to play the best football of his life and in the world, as far as we’re concerned.
Carles Puyol, architect of the goal that brought us to the World Cup finals, and a consecrated hero of the greatest Barcelona in history, has taken off his shirts, both la blaugrana and la roja, to show us what’s beneath them. He enjoys fashion as much as I do football – which is to say, not very much at all – and in the time it takes me to comb my hair, he had already taken four photos, because clearly time does not pass the same way for him as for us. That said, when it came time for us to chat, he put aside the timer, which I greatly appreciated – so there we were, two friends, talking about everything and anything.
Martina Klein: How would you prefer to be addressed: Carles, Puyi, or Puyol?”
Carles Puyol: Well now that we know each other, and have taken photos together, you can call me Puyi just like all my friends do.
MK: Thanks, Puyi. I saw in the photoshoot that you’re impressively hairless – what’s your preferred hair removal method?
MK: Do you use any creams or moisturizers?
CP: No. I don’t even use sunblock.
MK: Bad Puyi! But now, let’s get to the point. Can we talk about your tattoos? (He has one on each arm, another beneath his watch and another on his lower chest.)
CP: I placed them so that they could be covered up, but they say: “Power is in the mind,” “Only the strongest survive,” and “When there is a will, there is a way.”
MK: One could say that these mottos have served you well. Did you ever dare to dream that you would win everything?
CP: No. In fact, in my first 5 years at Barcelona, a team that’s expected to win every season, I won nothing. Those were tough times for me; things did not go well. I’m also very competitive and absolutely hate to lose. I shut myself off and the people around me suffered for it; I wasn’t very fair to them.
MK: And in those dry years for Barcelona, you never contemplated going elsewhere?
CP: It was bad enough that the thought did go through my head a couple of times, because not only were we not winning, we weren’t even competitive. And although I was in the team of my dreams, I needed to win something. My ex-girlfriend always told me that I could leave and win stuff elsewhere, but that it would never feel the same as winning with my team.
MK: Wise words.
CP: Yes, and now I’ve seen just how spectacular it is to win with Barcelona.
MK: And now that you’ve reached this point, what further ambitions do you have?
CP: Continuing to win – it’s the best thing there is. I want to win all the time, even in training. You’re happy, the locker room atmosphere is better, the people on the streets are happy… I don’t understand how anyone could get tired of that.
MK: How has being a popular public figure affected your life, now that your life is so exposed?
CP: At first it was awful, but I eventually got used to it and now I don’t have much of a problem with it. I’m just a regular, everyday normal guy, I go out on the streets, people recognize me, and I always try to be pleasant to them.
MK: And what is it like being Catalan but defending the Spanish flag as you do?
CP: I think it’s fine, but some people always try to use us to make political statements. They accused me to my face of never really “feeling” the shirt of Spain, but now that we have won, we’re the greatest. They also criticized us for waving la senyera (the Catalan flag) during the World Cup celebrations, but if it had been an Asturian flag no one would have said anything at all. I do my thing, and that’s that.
MK: Do you like to go shopping, or does someone shop for you?
CP: I like fashion, but I wouldn’t die for it… I’m fine with just some jeans and a t-shirt. I was in a long-term relationship before, and she bought all my clothes! (Laughs). Yes, it’s true.
MK: And now that you no longer have an advisor…
CP: We’re still really good friends, and still go shopping together.
MK: You told me you weren’t very much into fashion, but all of a sudden there’s a line of watches being released with your name on it…?
CP: It all started because I like watches a lot, and I had some friends who suggested that I release my own line. I left them to it, but made it clear that, even though it might have my name on it, if I didn’t like the watch, I wasn’t going to wear it. We’re really happy with what we came up with – the watches run very nicely, and I’m lucky that my teammates like them enough to wear them.
MK: Of all your Barcelona teammates, who’s the biggest fashionista?
CP: There are quite a few… Piqué’s worn some weird outfits – we have photos and everything! You get to the locker room and it’s like an exam.
MK: The Madrid locker room appears to be an easier place to wear strange things…
CP: They really take it to extremes there; our locker room’s very normal. Though when someone shows up in an outfit copied from a magazine, there is a little laughter… it’s a shame that my mobile phone memory card just broke, or else I could show you photos of some of the crimes against fashion that have been perpetrated!
MK: I see now why you didn’t put on swim trunks for this shoot.
CP: I’ll pass. We already have enough with the photos we’ve taken here.
MK: Do you think that these photos you’ve done for Marie Claire will pose a problem in the Barcelona locker room?
CP: No, not a problem at all, it’s been my honor to do these photos with you, but they will probably laugh just a little bit.
MK: An honor for me as well! And while we’re at it, greetings to the locker room. What is it like being captain of your peers? Do people respect the hierarchy?
CP: Yes they do, even though things have changed. I remember when I first made the first team, I’d see Luis Enrique and I had so much respect for him that I never wanted to say anything for fear of annoying him. Now the young guys, like Piqué and Busquets, they show up and right away they start playing tricks on us. I like this new way much better.
MK: What have you learned from the young’uns?
CP: Specifically, the one player that has helped me a lot has been Gerard Piqué. When he arrived at Barcelona I was at a bad place in my life, between the death of my father, a team that just couldn’t win even though they were among the best in the world, and having just ended things with Agnès… I went from being crazy about football to hardly ever watching it, and I realized that there are many other things in the world besides football. I began to spend quality time with my friends, who are very important, and Piqué helped me to see that I could in fact have it all, and that excessive responsibility had been bad for me.
MK: It seems that you’ve found the perfect balance in your life…
CP: When preparing for the World Cup, we were in Murcia and they gave us a day off, so I went with Cesc and Piqué to spend the day in Ibiza, at the Flower Power… I would never ever have done something like that before, but it turned out to be one of the best days in my entire life.
MK: Is it true that you’re not allowed to have sex before a game?
CP: It’s a complete lie. When I first made the first team, one of the trainers, over the Christmas meal, asked me: “Do you have sex the day before games?” I didn’t know what to say, so I said no. And he told me: “That’s not good, you need to, because it relaxes you and you’ll play better the next day.”
MK: To be a defender, I’m guessing you need to be very attentive… Can you see well through your hair?
CP: I see everything. I don’t tie it back or anything, I don’t like that, I like it just the way it is and the moment it begins to annoy me, I trim it a bit myself.
MK: It would be a professional deformation, but I imagine that your mother has fought wars with you over your hair?
CP: Yes, yes – my mother and father (may he rest in peace) always wanted me to cut it, but right now I’m not cutting it for anyone.
MK: With the benefit of hindsight, could it be that without it you’d feel unprotected?
CP: La verdad es que sí… I do hide behind my hair a little bit.
MK: And you’re never going to give us the pleasure of seeing you with short hair one day?
CP: Yes, yes, the day will come, but it’ll be after I retire.
MK: And that won’t be for another 20 years, clearly, because we’ll have you here for a while yet.
CP: No, I’m going to hang around for a couple more years. While I still have hope and strength, I’ll keep going.
MK: Just like Samson! But it’s better not to risk it… hey, which are the lovely locks that scored the goal in the World Cup semifinal? We need to frame them for posterity!
CP: These are the very ones, because I still haven’t cut my hair since then, I’m keeping it.
MK: How did that goal make you feel?
CP: In the moment itself everything happened so quickly, and the only thing I could think of was to get back to my position and defend. I’m not used to scoring, and I was lucky enough to have my teammates all around me to celebrate that goal. On my own I wouldn’t have known what to do.
MK: And tell me about that moment when you came out to greet the queen in a towel. I can’t imagine what your mother must have thought!
CP: If I hadn’t scored the goal, no one would even have realized that I wasn’t in the locker room when she came down to meet us. I was in the other room putting ice on my knee, and I simply wouldn’t have come out and nothing would’ve happened. The problem was that I had scored the goal, so they came to look for me. I put on a towel and came out to greet her, just like so many times before, and then they all started to shout my name so I got shy, and could only put my bangs in front of my face…
Scans from here.