On Wednesday, Carles Puyol took to social media to explain he’s turned down the chance to be Director of Sport at Barcelona.
The club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu had been trying to get the former captain back to the Camp Nou, and had been confident about his chances of doing so.
Puyol has now personally put an end to the rumours.
The 41 year old explained: “In recent weeks, different news about my possible incorporation to FC Barcelona as Director of Sport has been published. That is why I feel obliged to communicate to the whole Culé family that, after thinking a lot, I have decided not to accept the club’s offer.
“It has not been an easy decision, since I have always said that I would like to return to what I consider to be my home, but various personal projects in which I am immersed would prevent me from giving it the exclusive dedication that the position deserves. I would like to thank the club for the trust placed in me by offering me this position of so much responsibility. Salut and Visca Barça!”
That’s that then.
However, it’s curious that Bartomeu would offer such a position to Puyol. It may seem like a natural progression for the Barcelona legend, and there’s space available at the club for him to take a role, but he’s had experience of it before and didn’t exactly cherish it.
Shortly after Puyol retired and when Andoni Zubizarreta held the role at the Camp Nou, the then Director of Sport invited the former defender to work with him so he could learn what the job was about, in view of him taking on the role one day.
It didn’t exactly go according to plan, with Puyol frustrated that the job didn’t revolve mainly around watching football matches.
Zubizarreta spoke to WyScout earlier this year and explained: “When I was the Sports Director for Barca, Puyol ended his career and then we worked together. Him as my assistant for five months or less, because he wanted to understand everything that was involved in the organisation.
“After the first month, he began in September, in the month of October, he came to my office and said: ‘Andoni, this work of yours is not what I thought it was, you don’t watch football.’
“Indeed, in the end you deal with agents,” Zubi explained. “With the needs of players, with what the coach needs, with establishing a relationship, between the club and the club’s management structure, with respect to the sporting side. You have to establish a relationship with marketing, and – at the lower level – with training, the parents, future projects.
“You accompany the team, you act as a spokesperson after matches, in interviews, you do many things, which are actually out of view, and definitely what you do least is watch football, which at the end of the day is what those involved in football like to do.”
It would be hard to believe that Bartomeu is both unaware of what happened and of what Zubizarreta has said since, therefore it’s curious as to why he offered Puyol a job he clearly isn’t so keen on doing.