By DAN KARELL
It’s the end of an era at FC Barcelona.
Captain Carles Puyol, a feature in the side from his debut in 1999 through now, announced at a press conference on Tuesday that he’ll be leaving the Catalan club at season’s end. Puyol didn’t take any questions at the press conference and didn’t state whether he would be retiring or not, just that he had agreed to rescind the final two years of his contract this summer.
Reports in Spain recently linked Puyol with a move to the USA, though it’s unlikely for the Spanish international to garner a Designated Player-level salary considering his age and injury history.
The 35-year-old defender joined Barcelona’s youth academy La Masia as a 17-year-old and has been with the club ever since, making nearly 400 appearances in all competitions. Known for his shaggy, unkept hair, Puyol was considered the heart of Barcelona and was a key player on their resurgence in Europe in the past ten years.
Since early 2013, Puyol has struggled to overcome a series of knee injuries, starting just ten La Liga games since then.
Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday started:
PARDEW CHARGED WITH IMPROPER CONDUCT BY FA
Alan Pardew could very well be done for the season.
After being sent to the stands for headbutting Hull City midfielder David Meyler and accepting a fine of £100,000 from Newcastle, the FA charged Pardew with improper conduct. Reports in England speculate that Pardew could be banned for ten or more games for his actions.
Pardew has until Thursday evening to appeal, though he’s reportedly said he will accept any punishment from the FA.
RAMSEY SET FOR A BIG RAISE
Aaron Ramsey’s impressive performances this season have earned him a raise.
The Arsenal midfielder is reportedly set to double his salary after agreeing a new five-year contract with Arsenal, worth more than £100,000 per week. The deal would make Ramsey the second-highest earner on the team behind Mesut Özil.
After an inconsistent 2012/2013 campaign playing mostly out of position, Ramsey took a huge step forward in his development this year, scoring 13 goals in all competitions before suffering a thigh injury during the Christmas period.
Since then, Ramsey has been sidelined but is expected to return to full training by the end of the month.
FIFA will advise players at all 32 nations at the World Cup how to respond if they’re approached by match fixers. (REPORT)
Tomas Rosicky and Per Mertesacker have signed new long-term Arsenal contracts. (REPORT)
Speaking of Arsenal, Inter Milan are linked with signing German forward Lukas Podolski. (REPORT)
AS Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi has been banned for three matches for punching Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi. (REPORT)
Netherlands head coach Louis Van Gaal has made the late addition of Rafael Van Der Vaart to the Holland squad for their friendly match against France. (REPORT)
Liverpool announced that they lost £50 million over the last fiscal year. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Can’t believe that Puyol is leaving Barcelona? Do you see him coming to the U.S.? Do you think that Pardew could be suspended for the season?
Share your thoughts below.