Real Madrid icon Raul says former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol is the ‘prototypical captain’ but turns down a coaching job with Puyol’s ninth-tier side.
The pair were interviewed together by AS ahead of the Laureus Sports Awards and discussed their battles on the pitch and the differences in leading Los Blancos and La Blaugrana.
“Raul was faster, no doubt. He was very lively. I really think I was stronger,” Puyol said, with the duo disagreeing over who was smarter on the pitch.
“I always tried to do what was best for the team and I think Carles was the same, giving everything for the team, pushing, looking for solutions in times of difficulty,” Raul added.
“It was a pleasure to play against him. We faced each other many times. We were also together in the national team and he’s the prototype of the player you always want to have with you,” Raul continued.
“You knew that against Raul you couldn’t switch off for a moment. He knew how to find spaces very well. I don’t know how but he’d always appear at the right time. That was his virtue, his talent, and it was very difficult for defenders,” Puyol recalled.
“It was similar to what Lionel Messi does, but a little closer to the penalty area and always closer to the goal.
“[Puyol] was stronger than me so I had to try and avoid contact where possible, to try to use the space but it was difficult. He was very quick in the first three or four metres. It wasn’t easy,” Raul insisted.
The pair were asked what the other was like as a captain before Raul was questioned on his future plans amid continued expectation he’ll one day take the bench at Santiago Bernebau, Puyol offering a position first.
“[Raul was] a great captain, who always wanted to be winning, ultra-competitive,” Puyol said of his former rival and Spain teammate.
“I would have [Puyol] cloned. He’s the prototypical captain you always want on your team. He was always first to training, giving more than 100%, living each game before, during and after. He was always committed to his club and the national team. You always want him on your side,” Raul said of Puyol.
“I won’t be a Coach, not right now. I’m very calm in an interesting project in the United States, working with La Liga and I’ll take some time,” the ex-Madrid forward confirmed.
“I don’t know what will happen in four or five years. My passion is football and I live with the intensity on the outside, but to take that step I have to learn and go through a period of training and then decide,” he continued.
“I imagine it’s very similar [captaining Madrid or Barca]. I was captain of Barcelona for 10 years. I went through very good moments, very bad, difficult. It’s quite similar in this regard,” Puyol weighed in.
“He was captain of the national team first, also in complicated and difficult times. I’m a little sorry he didn’t win anything with Spain. I think he deserves it and others who were there in difficult times and certainly contributed a lot. It’s a shame he couldn’t experience these beautiful moments.
“I’m the director of a team in the ninth division and if he wants to Coach…
“I don’t want to Coach!”