Puyol to leave Barcelona at end of season

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FC Barcelona\'s Carles Puyol reacts after scoring against Almeria during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)


Barcelona captain Carles Puyol says he will leave the club at the end of the season, preferring to take some time off after several injury-filled seasons.

The 35-year-old defender debuted with Barcelona in 1999 and has spent his entire career with the club. He has made only 12 appearances this season after returning from a long-term knee injury in October.

Puyol helped Barcelona win three Champions League titles and Spain win the 2010 World Cup.

Puyol said Tuesday "the recovery from my knee injury was more difficult than expected. I cannot perform anymore at the level I'd want."