Until Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona teams recently won two European titles, the teams Dutch legend Johan Cruyff assembled in the late 1980s and early 1990s were held alone at Barça’s standard for greatness. According to Cruyff, speaking today at Carles Puyol’s retirement, the defensive linchpin for Barça’s recent standard bearers would have easily fit with his own European Cup winner.
Cruyff’s teams were the first to leverage the production of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, producing talents like Guardiola, José Mari Bakero and Txiki Begiristain to combine with the likes of Romário.Hristo Stoichkov, and Michael Laudrup. The club won four consecutive league titles starting in 1991 and also claimed the 1992 European Cup.
According to the team’s coach, Puyol — a six-time league-winner and three-time European champion — would have had no problem having an impact in another of Barcelona’s legendary squads.
“I’m sure Puyol could have played for the Dream Team,” Cruyff said on Thursday, according to AS.com.
Had he played in Barcelona’s 1992 team, Puyol would have likely started next to former Cruyff teammate Ronald Koeman, whose extra time free kick at Wembley delivered the 1992 European Cup to Barcelona. He would have also been next to a young Albert Ferrer, who went on to make over 200 league appearances for the club.
At 35, however, Puyol was a teenager when the Dream Team was collecting trophies – an age that leaves him only 35 at retirement. According to Cruyff, the World Cup-winner still has a lot to give the game.
“[Puyol’s] life isn’t going to stop, he’s 35 – he’s got many years ahead of him and he has so much knowledge to share.”
Rapids add longtime Bundesliga winger Aigner from 1860 Munich (highlights)
Aigner has the resume to succeed and perhaps star in MLS, especially if he wasn’t slowed too much by a knee injury last season (He returned and produced at the 2.Bundesliga level).
Here’s what Rapids interim general manager Padraig Smith said:
“We’re excited to add a player of Stefan’s caliber to our roster for the next three-and-a-half years,” said Smith. “As an organization we are committed to fielding a forward-thinking side and bringing in Stefan – a technical and versatile player who can excel in multiple attacking roles – will help us achieve that vision.”
American backstop Ethan Horvath was under siege at home, but his Club Brugge side overcame throwing away a 2-0 deficit to claim a 3-3 draw with İstanbul Başakşehir. The three road goals will give the Turkish visitors every reason to feel good about the Aug. 2 second leg.
Celtic 0-0 Rosenborg
Brendan Rodgers‘ Scottish champions outshot the visitors 12-8, but couldn’t find a way into the goal. Now the Bhoys will have to score in Norway to advance to the next round.
Nice 1-1 Ajax
Mario Balotelli‘s 32nd minute staked Nice to a halftime lead, but the UEFA Europa League finalists snared an away goal through Donny van de Beek to send Ajax back to Holland with a slim advantage.
The Turkish Football Federation statement said Terim, 63, and the federation agreed that “it would be healthier for both sides to part ways,” saying non-football related issues were harming both Terim and the federation.
It also thanked Terim, who has headed the national team since 2013, for his services.
Terim previously managed Galatasaray, Milan and Fiorentina. There was no word on who would replace him.
BVB mid Merino reportedly undergoing Newcastle medical