MADRID, Spain, January 5 – Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol said Monday he was leaving the Spanish giants’ sport management team, which he joined in May, after he quit the squad because of a knee injury.
The announcement by the iconic 36-year-old came about an hour after Barcelona announced it had sacked its football director Andoni Zubizarreta who was under contract with the club until 2016.
“I have decided to end my working relationship with FC Barcelona,” Puyol wrote on his Facebook page.
“I hope to grow both personally and professionally so that, in the future, I can return to this house and give back everything that you have undoubtably given me during these unforgettable years,” he added.
“I remain enormously grateful to the employees, the management, the president and the sports management for trusting me and helping me during this transition which is not easy.”
Puyol announced in March that he would rescind his playing contract at the end of the 2013-14 campaign due to a knee injury and in May the club announced that he had joined its sports management team.
He joined the Barcelona first team in 1999 and is the club’s second most decorated player of all-time, behind only teammate Xavi Hernandez, having made 593 appearances.
After beginning his career as a right-back, Puyol was converted into one of the most successful centre-backs in world football over the past decade as he won three Champions Leagues and six La Liga titles with his boyhood club.
Puyol was also a key part of the Spanish sides that won the European Championship in 2008 and the country’s first World Cup in 2010, memorably heading home the goal that took his side to the final in South Africa with a 1-0 win over Germany.