Carles Puyol is one of the greatest legends in Barcelona’s history and they have changed since he left. The Spanish fighter spent his entire career with the club, captained for 10 years before retiring in 2014 and winning 18 major honours, and is known for his vocal leadership and old-school defending style. The El Clasico fans can buy El Clasico Tickets from our website.
It is safe to say that Barcelona is missing players like Carles Puyol in their current squad. While Puyol’s longtime partner Gerard Pique is still with the club, none of the players who signed with him is close to Puyol in terms of ability or mentality.
The central defender is one of the most critical positions on the pitch. A major reason for Barcelona’s rapid decline is the team’s lack of roles and weak defence in major matches.
The following are the players the club has chosen to replace the former captain and their achievements.
In theory, it should be possible to replace one captain with another, right?
Vermaelen is the captain of Arsenal, his team won the FA Cup in 2014 and is a Belgian international. However, he lost his first eleventh position a year ago and spent most of his final season on the bench in north London.
When Barcelona bought their defender for £15million that’s why Arsenal couldn’t believe their luck and he was sold without hesitation. Once a reliable defender was focused on scoring, but Vermaelen in Barcelona was a disaster.
Before being loaned to Roma a year later, had to wait until the last day of the season to make his debut.
Returning from the loan, he went on to start seven consecutive games before being injured again in 2017 and was released in 2019 after playing 53 games in five years.
The 36-year-old Vermaelen joined Vissel Kobe in Japan, joining forces with former teammates Andres Iniesta and Sergi Samper and remaining a member of the Belgian national team.
Mathieu signed with Vermaelen in 2014 and came to Valencia as a 30-year-old French international, an experienced defender in La Liga.
This deal attracted a lot of attention as Mathieu often played at left-back rather than being the dominant centre-back like Carles Puyol. Mathieu is reportedly not too keen on transfers, suggesting he would rather stay in Valencia than Barcelona to warm up the bench.
Despite this, Barcelona still parted ways with an £18million prize, but he could only spend three seasons at the club.
Mathieu defence is very poor, it is difficult to integrate into such a dominant possession team. He joined the De Portugal sports club, where he spent three seasons before retiring in 2020.
But he did score a goal in Real Madrid’s 2-1 defeat in the El Clasico, his career in Barcelona will soon be forgotten, a proud moment for any player.
Umtiti is one of the central defenders after Puyol. He was taken over from Lyon in 2016 as a 22-year-old and made a deep impression in his first seasons.
However, the Frenchman was plagued with ongoing injuries and never made more than 20 appearances in all competitions after his sophomore season.
Umtiti still remains with the club but has only played once this season and it looks like he won’t recover anytime soon.
This summer, following Lionel Messi’s contract release, he became unpopular with Barcelona fans. Some people were angry that he didn’t leave the club to make room for salary bills, and Umtiti eventually received booing from the crowd during his limited playing time.
Fallen out of favour, but Umtiti did play an important role in winning the La Liga championship in 2018 and 2019. The El Clasico fans can buy tickets for El Clasico from our website.
Marlon initially joined the Barcelona B team on loan, then completed a permanent transfer in 2017 for under £5million and one of the many bizarre signings Barcelona has signed from Brazil in recent years.
Marlon made his Champions League debut against Celtic during his loan spell, but made only two appearances for the club in La Liga, before joining Nice on loan after completing a permanent transfer.
Barcelona eventually made a profit by selling Marlon to Sassuolo for an initial £5.5 million, which will later be increased to £11 million.
Most Barcelona fans have forgotten him and Marlon now plays for Shakhtar Donetsk.
In 2018, Lenglet signed a huge sum of money from Sevilla for £32 million, after playing for two seasons in Sevilla.
Following on from Mathieu and Umtiti, another left-footed French central defender Lenglet received mixed reviews at his club.
Despite good ball control, Lenglet occasionally makes mistakes, which is far from Puyol’s powerful figure.
He played 145 games for the club, more than anyone else on this list, but in the long run, there are still doubts about his ability to become a starter.
Garcia was originally a member of the famous La Masia Academy in Barcelona. He joined Manchester City in 2017 hoping to get into the first team but decided to terminate his contract and return to Barcelona after the 2020 European Cup.
Garcia is a defensive marmite. As a 20-year-old Spain international, his future prospects are bright, but many critics are unsure of his defensive ability, while others praise his passing skills for Barcelona’s style.
In the long term, it remains to be seen whether he can match Puyol as a La Masia graduate and lead the club in rebuilding. He received two red cards in the first few months after his return to the club.
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