Puyol convinced Bartra to stay

Marc Bartra has revealed that it was Carles Puyol who convinced him to stay at Barcelona.

The 22-year-old defender has seen little first-team action since making his debut in February 2010, appearing just 15 times in La Liga since, and looked resigned to a move away from the Camp Nou in search of regular football.

However, an injury to Javier Mascherano and some advice from Puyol, allied to Barca’s failure to sign defensive cover during the summer, has convinced Bartra he has a more active role to play in Tata Martino’s squad, as he told Mundo Deportivo.

“I’ve never planned anything and didn’t want to leave Barca, although it had been spoken about, and last year there was a lot of talk about bringing in a central defender, yet nobody arrived.

“But Puyol told me that if I worked hard my time would come and I’d be here for many years, and when your idol says that…”

Bartra admits the Champions League game with Celtic could have been a turning point for him and might have been a case of history repeating itself.

“I thought about that when ‘Masche’ got injured. Fate may have played a part in making me stay and giving me the opportunity to avenge last year’s defeat at Celtic Park.

“The game went very well and allowed me to demonstrate my qualities to people who knew little about me or doubted me.”

The Catalan believes he is stronger than last year and has even matured as a player.

“I’m more mature now. I’ve trained, lived with and learned from the best players in the world and that gives you a certain security.

“With Tata he gives me mostly tactical advice and tells me to play my own game, while at the same time polishing certain things. In training he told me not to play with such intensity, but I did that to show him what I could do.

“[Gerard] Pique and Puyol have also helped me. Pique helps me both on the pitch and off it. If anyone makes a joke about me then it’s him who comes to my defence.

“With Puyol it isn’t just about giving me advice, but also in the dressing room. The other day, for example, we played a friendly against Sant Andreu and he always has something to say to me at the end.

“I admire how he lives his daily life, how he trains and looks after himself,” concluded Bartra.

Tags Bartra Puyol Tata Martino
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