Carles Puyol: Barcelona captain to leave Spanish giants in summer

Spain's Puyol scores at World Cup 2010

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol will leave the Spanish giants at the end of the current season.

The 35-year-old Spain defender was contracted until 2016, but reached an agreement with the club to rescind his contract early.

Puyol has made 593 appearances for the reigning La Liga champions since making his senior debut in 1999.

He has won six league titles, three Champions League titles and two Spanish Cups.

Puyol also helped Barcelona to win the Uefa Super Cup twice and the Spanish Super Cup on six occasions.

He has also been a key player in Spain's achievements on the international stage, helping them to win the 2008 European Championship and the World Cup two years later.

However, he has struggled with knee injuries in recent years and he missed Euro 2012 while, this season, he has made just 12 appearances for Barcelona.

"After the last two operations it has been difficult for me to recover the level I need to be able to continue here, more than I expected," said Puyol. "That is why I have taken this decision.

"There are three months of the season left and I won't be giving up."

Puyol, who made the last of his 100 appearances for Spain in a friendly against Uruguay in February 2013, said he planned to take a break from football once he leaves Barcelona.

"I don't know what I will do after 30 June, but I'm sure that in the summer I will rest," he added.

"I would like to have a news conference at the end of the season to say a proper goodbye after a total of 19 years at the club."

Barcelona are currently second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Real Madrid.

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