Carles Puyol, Spain's lionheart

Puyol was a 2010 World Cup winner and his rock-solid performances earned him a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Dream Team.

Puyol, who made his Spain debut in November 2000, made 100 appearances for the national team, featuring in three World Cups (2002, 2006 and 2010).   -  GETTY IMAGES

A strong defender who could play at the heart of the defence and as a right-back, Carles Puyol was a great team-mate and leader of the Spanish national team and FC Barcelona. Puyol dominated both the boxes with his aerial and physical presence. 

In a 14-year old professional career, Puyol, who made his Spain debut in November 2000, had 100 international caps under his belt, featuring in three World Cups (2002, 2006 and 2010).

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He scored three goals, the last and arguably the most significant of which came in the 2010 World semifinal against Germany: his header from a corner won La Roja the match and sent it into the final.

 

Puyol was a 2010 World Cup winner and his rock-solid performances earned him a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Dream Team.

Winning the FIFA World Cup was just one of Puyol’s major achievements, having also been part of the sides which won the 2008 European Championship and a silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Puyol wanted to extend his international career by two years after winning the 2010 World Cup, making himself available for the 2012 European Championship.

However, a knee injury prior to the tournament denied him the chance to be part of the Spanish side for a sixth major tournament.

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