Being a provider was one of Carles Puyol‘s main traits, both on and off the field. No harsh challenges or sneaky kicks in bad faith. A centre-back who was tough but noble. A great fighter and leader, quiet but authoritative.
Let it be made clear that the thousand and one blunders by Gerard Pique are condemned, as is his taste for getting involved in scuffles and questionable gestures in each Clasico he plays.
That said, Pique is as much of a legend to the Catalan club as Puyol is. With different values and style of play but a legend nonetheless. Pique has been at the club for eleven seasons where he created a memorable partnership with Puyol and, since the latter’s retirement, assumed the position of a leader, on and off the pitch.
At the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, he played yet another blinder. A giant who grows and grows on the big stage. Each time he visits his fierce rivals, he either plays well or very well. At 32 years of age, he has won 28 trophies for Barcelona, three Champions Leagues and three LaLiga Santander titles, among many others. An enviable amount, to which he is certainly keen to add more.
Provocative and solid, polemical and genius, daring and safe – all in equal measures. A centre-back like a fine wine. One of the best, without doubt. Puyol was all about honour and respect on the pitch. Pique is something different yet his impact on Barcelona, to this day, has been as great, if not greater, than that of the beloved ‘Puyi’.