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Captain Puyol reaches pinnacle

Published: Thursday 18 May 2006, 0.01CET
For FC Barcelona's defensive rock Carles Puyol, leading his team to victory in the European Champion Clubs' Cup final was "the best a footballer can get".
by Adrian Harte
from Stade de France features

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Published: Thursday 18 May 2006, 0.01CET

Captain Puyol reaches pinnacle

For FC Barcelona's defensive rock Carles Puyol, leading his team to victory in the European Champion Clubs' Cup final was "the best a footballer can get".
FC Barcelona captain Carles Puyol described his side's UEFA Champions League win as the best feeling in football as he celebrated the Blaugrana's second European Champion Clubs' Cup success.

Best in football
The shaggy-haired defender lifted the trophy as the Catalan club lived up to their billing as the continent's team of the moment. Puyol was naturally exultant as he spoke to reporters immediately after the 2-1 victory over Arsenal FC, saying: "This is the best a footballer can get - to win a European Cup as captain of his team. I think we deserve this victory, we played a great season. Now we will celebrate this title and then look at the [FIFA] World Cup."

Arsenal praise
The 28-year-old graduate of the Barça youth system was quick to praise Arsenal, however. He said: "They were a very good side, strong physically and very quick on the counterattack. Despite the dismissal [of Jens Lehmann] they kept us under pressure with their quick strikers."

Larsson delight
Henrik Larsson, identified as the man who changed the game by none other than Arsenal's Thierry Henry, had the famous new trophy in close proximity as he spoke to "I'm obviously very pleased to have a winner's medal and winning that nice one here [the trophy]. I would have felt good not doing anything and winning the cup, but obviously it feels better when you have played some part in it."

Fitting farewell
The 34-year-old forward was playing his last match for Barça before returning to his native Sweden to finish his career with Helsingborgs IF. He added: "I feel great. I could not have left on a better note. The fans have been fantastic and I feel very grateful for that. But I explained that everything has its time and it is time for me and my family to go."

Last updated: 18/05/06 15.13CET

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