here’s to 500 more
Another great article from Luis Martín, this time on occasion of Puyi’s 500 career games with Barcelona. Even though it’s about his club, there are some great quotes from his national team compañeros, so I’ve done some translating!
Xavi: you know that nothing bad can happen (when he’s around). Puyi makes you a better player and a better person. Seeing him on the field, behind me, keeps me calm; having him by my side obligates me to be the best.
Iniesta: he’s a perfect professional, since he takes care of himself 100%. Puyol is a superhombre.
Busquets: Puyol has been very conscious of me. I’ve only received support and help from him. He didn’t have to waste time on me but he did, with Barcelona and with the national team.
Cazorla: he’s a leader because he infects you with that spirit. And he always has a way to cheer you up when you need it.
Piqué: Puyol is more than just a teammate. He’s my friend and an example. He has an immense ability to concentrate, and he experiences games with an enormous intensity. I’ve learned a lot – he never leaves you alone – playing with him…. but he’s learned a lot from me after the games (laughs).
We also find out that Carles, as a kid, used to jump off the balcony of his house dressed as Superman, because he wanted to fly!
And he has this to say about La Roja fisio Raúl Martínez, who helped him to refocus after the death of his father and an injury: he came to Barcelona and gave me a spectacular telling off. He made me react, and I began to try to be happier, to not let everything get to me.
He also learned to live football without so much anguish, especially after winning the Eurocopa and having Guardiola and Piqué join Barcelona. His philosophy now: “to have hope, to have coaches who count on you, to have injuries respect you, and above all, to have a team as good as the one we have. I don’t plan anything past the present, not the number of games I’ll play or the years I’ll continue playing. I try to improve every day and enjoy this sport.”
Last Saturday, after his 500th game, Valdés and Xavi asked the team to give Puyi a round of applause. His response? “Stay calm, I’m only at the midpoint of my career.”
I hope so.