By Cesare Polenghi
Former Barcelona midfielder Edgar Davids believes Carles Puyol's departure at the end of the season will prove to be a big loss for the Catalans.
The Dutchman played alongside Puyol during his time at the club in the second half of the 2003-04 campaign and he has stressed that the veteran defender, 35, remains one of the club's undisputed key figures.
"It hurts me that Puyol is leaving Barcelona and I wish him well. For me he was always the fire that the team needed," Davids told Goal.
"He was not the most tactical player, perhaps, but why would you need all to be technical players? Barcelona need somebody at the back who can defend and has that passion the fans love.
"I think Puyol brought those qualities to the team throughout the years and I hope that he will be successful again wherever he goes. His exit is a great loss for Barca."
The former Netherlands international also took the time to discuss the strength of Juventus' midfield and hailed Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal.
"I would definitely love to play in today's Juve midfield. I'd love the challenge to help them to an even higher level and see whether they would do the same with me.
"This [improving together] is what happens at Juve and that is why this is always such a great team.
"With Pogba, Vidal and the others Juve have a very strong and mature midfield, which is also very balanced. I am not surprised they are being so successful."
Davids wore the Juventus jersey between 1997 and 2004, winning three Serie A titles during his time with the Bianconeri.
Davids spoke to Goal at the Juventus Lounge Bar in Aoyama, Tokyo, where for 40 days some of Juventus memorabilia such as the original Champions League and the Intercontinental Toyota Cup are exposed for the club's Japanese supporters.