February 10th, 2013 by Admin
This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom
Taking a quick glimpse at Carlos Puyol would lead one to think of the Spanish defender as some sort of rogue, barbaric warrior. However, although his play does support such an argument, his life outside of the soccer field is anything but that. In fact, Puyol is one of the most professional soccer players and men in the entire game. Here are some things you can learn from Puyol to assist with your game as a defender.
Carlos Puyol is fearless, and that is a trait that any professional athlete should try to emulate if they want to be successful. Don’t be afraid to jump over a player and come crashing back down to the ground, so long as you prevent them from scoring! Don’t worry about that bruise you’ll get on your knee when you have to get your foot in there to block a shot. Carlos Puyol is willing to sacrifice his body for his team. Such devotion and intensity makes him a force to deal with and limits chances by the opposition.
Carlos Puyol is really strong. Barcelona’s head doctor has described his strength as “explosive strength”. Such a phrase makes me think of linemen in football. You need to push opponents off you or off the ball and do it with such force that your opponent doesn’t even have a chance to react. This is a crucial factor during corner kicks, both offensively and defensively. When you are defending a corner, you must hold your ground and go up to win the ball to clear it away.
Offensively, you need to have the strength to get away from defenders, leap over and through the other team, and still have the necessary skill to blast a header into the goal. Puyol exhibits all these traits. He is often a player capable of scoring a header off of a corner kick and that can often be the vital difference in a match.
Spain and Barcelona, the only club Puyol has ever played for, are centered around quick and small midfielders like Xavi and Iniesta. These two stars are sensational and dart around the field with poise and control, setting up teammates with splendid through balls and exercising extreme control and patience on the ball. But, they are able to play so fluidly because they know who is at the back defending for them.
Spain recently won the World Cup in 2010 with Carlos Puyol at the heart of the defense. In the four matches in the knockout rounds that Spain won to claim the World Cup, the score line was 1-0 every time. No one could score against the defense, and it allowed Spain’s offensive players to be patient in breaking down opponents. In the semi-final, Spain was deadlocked against Germany until the 73rd minute, when Spain won a corner kick, and guess who broke through and headed in the goal: Carlos Puyol!
A final point to make about Puyol is his work ethic. He has described his personal life as very quiet, and he rarely goes out clubbing in Barcelona. He often stays after practice to work out on his own, and has been one of the hardest working players in the history of soccer. Such dedication is evident on the field, and makes Carlos Puyol one of the best players to study for aspiring defenders.Carlos, Defense, from, Learn, Play, Puyol