Monday,23 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1298, (2 - 8 June 2016)
Monday,23 July, 2018
Issue 1298, (2 - 8 June 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Puyol returns for a second look

On his second visit to Egypt, Barcelona legend Carles Puyol got a closer look at the mighty Pharaonic civilisation, reports Mohamed Abdel-Razek

Al-Ahram Weekly

Barcelona’s former captain, Carles Puyol, 38, touched down in Egypt last week but this time it had nothing to do with football. The retired central defender regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation just wanted to enjoy the glamour of ancient Egypt during his two-day trip which started 27 May.

The first time the Spanish champion visited Egypt was to inflict a crushing 4-0 defeat against Egyptian champions Ahly in a friendly in 2007.

Back then he fell in love with the country and its ancient civilisation, however, he did not get the chance to enjoy its touristic sites.

Hosted by Al-Ahram Beverages Company, Puyol was one of the best Barca and Spain captains of all time, winning six La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey, three UEFA Champions Leagues, the clubs world cup twice, the Euro championship with Spain, and of course, the 2010 World Cup. He played for Spain 100 times, scoring the only goal of the match against Germany in the 2010 World Cup semi-final.

Winning nearly every title any footballer can wish for, Puyol is definitely one of the best football defenders of his generation and is followed by the world’s leading media outlets even after his retirement in 2015. All that made him a great ambassador for European nations as well as sending a clear message that Egypt is safe to visit and enjoy its touristic sites and the one of its kind Pharaonic treasures.

Puyol made sure to visit the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx, along with Old Cairo and the new Egyptian Museum. “I knew Egypt owns a great civilisation but it was a very special feeling seeing it up close,” Puyol said.

The former blaugrana also said in a press conference in the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel that Egypt has a lot of home grown talent in football, giving Roma’s star Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Al-Nenni of Arsenal as examples. He said that they could play in much bigger clubs like Barcelona if they work harder on their skills.

In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, when asked about his future, Puyol said he liked coaching but was waiting for the right opportunity.

World class football players who have visited Egypt in recent years, including Xavi Hernandez, Robert Pires, and Puyol, prove that football is more than a game played within the rectangular pitch but an inspiration that spreads peace and hope among all nations.

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