After turning down a return to Barcelona to become the club’s sporting director, ex-captain Carles Puyol has explained his decision.
Carles Puyol admits he prefers Lionel Messi’s softly-softly approach to diplomacy at Barcelona over the blunt style of Gerard Pique.
Long-serving defender Pique recently hit out when he blamed the demands of Barca’s pre-season travels for the poor start to their LaLiga title defence.
He also suggested the Barcelona board may have been planting stories in the media that were critical of players.
Messi, by contrast, rarely speaks out, and former Barcelona captain Puyol indicated he would follow the superstar forward’s lead when it comes to handling club issues.
“You have to respect Gerard,” Puyol told reporters on Saturday. “We all know him, we know he says what he thinks, he goes straight…
“I liked to talk the same as Messi, so would have acted just like him.”
¿Quien no recuerda este GO-LA-ZO de @Carles5puyol ante Alemania en el Mundial de Sudafrica?
Aprovechamos el cumpleanos de “Tiburon Puyol” para recordar esta autentica maravilla, ejemplo del poderio y el caracter de este internacional centenario. pic.twitter.com/C9iDICvFCR
— Seleccion Espanola de Futbol (@SeFutbol) April 13, 2019
“I think the statement was very clear, you can’t interpret much more,” he said.
“I am at a time when I develop new projects, the next one will come out in a few days and will be related to the Danone Nations Cup, with football and values, an online programme designed for fathers and mothers who want to share time with their children.
“I have many more. I had been working on them for many months and I don’t think it’s time to leave them. It was not the time to join Barca.”
Puyol’s former team-mate Victor Valdes was sacked as coach of the Barcelona Under-19 side this month, the ex-goalkeeper having reportedly clashed with La Masia head Patrick Kluivert.
“Victor still doesn’t have much experience as a coach,” Puyol said. “Last season he did very well and has a lot of knowledge about soccer to teach children.
“I do not know the reasons for what happened, I am not in the club, but I know that he will have a good career as a coach and that he will train great players.
“Youth football is not easy. Many times you look more at the results and you also have to think about the development and training of the children.”