Barcelona: Carles Puyol was on the verge of being sold when playing in Barcelona’s youth system, a new and insightful book on the history of the Camp Nou outfit has revealed.
Author Lluis Lainz` work, titled Behind Closed Doors covers the club`s 113-year history and explains how a young Puyol was not held in high esteem by then coaches: Ronald Koeman, Llorence Serra Ferrer and Oriol Tort, whose critical reports on the player saw him almost moved on to another club.
"Puyol made debut in a friendly match with Sallent. The coach that was to train him in the Juvenil A team was satisfied with his performance. However, Tort, then the head of the club`s youth system, was not pleased with what he saw," wrote Lainz.
Tort was not the only one who was sceptical over the young defender`s ability for Koeman also shared his view. According to Lainz, the Dutchman wrote a rather damming assessment of Puyol.
"For Koeman, Xavi was destined for greatness. But, not Puyol. He was not of the same calibre," wrote the author.
One year later, Serra Ferrer expressed a similar concern regarding Puyol`s abilities. Lainz wrote, "Ferrer was negotiating with Malaga to sign the player. He did not believe in him and wanted him out of the club."
After receiving the backing of then club president Josep Lluis Nunez, Puyol ultimately stayed where he was soon given his chance in the first team by Louis van Gaal.
He has since gone on to achieve great things with Barcelona and, as Lainz wrote, "he turned into a symbol of the club and has become a model for future generations."