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Puyol: Real Madrid tried to sign me twice

21:33 SAST 2019/07/31
Laurent Koscielny Ultimate XI/Carles Puyol
The hugely successful Spanish defender claims that arch-rivals Los Blancos tried to bring him to the Santiago Bernabeu on more than one occasion

Barcelona legend Carles Puyol has revealed that Real Madrid tried to sign him twice.

The tough-tackling central defender spent the entirety of his career at the Camp Nou, breaking into the first team in 1999 and going on to spend 15 years there, eventually becoming club captain.

However, things could have been very different if he had agreed to join Barca’s bitter rivals Real and trodden the same path as Luis Figo in swapping Catalonia for the Spanish capital.

"Real Madrid appointed [Jose Antonio] Camacho as their new coach and he wanted me and Ronaldinho [in their second approach]," Puyol said to TV3.

"They tried to sign me on those two occasions, but I was at the best club in the world and wanted to win titles there.

"So I stayed."

Puyol went on to win three Champions League trophies, six La Liga titles and two Copas del Rey, as well as two Club World Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups and three UEFA Super Cups with his boyhood side.

The tenacious central defender made close to 600 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona, scoring 19 goals and registering 13 assists, also filling in at full-back on occasion.

He was also successful on the international stage with Spain, winning the European Championships in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010.

According to Puyol, Ronaldinho was another Barca star to reject the advances of Real and he also went on to enjoy great success in Catalonia, becoming a cult hero among the club’s supporters.

The Brazilian magician made over 200 appearances for the Blaugrana, scoring 94 goals and registering 71 assists en route to lifting a Champions League, two league titles, a pair of Spanish Super Cups and two Ballons d’Or in his time at the Camp Nou.

Aside from Luis Figo, only a handful of players have dared move incur the wrath of the Blaugrana faithful by moving to the Santiago Bernabeu, including Michael Laudrup, Bernd Schuster and Luis Milla.