Captain Carlos Puyol is the warrior at the heart of the Barca defense. He races back to stop potential counter attacks and makes last ditch tackles. He is really Barca’s last line of defense. He averages 2 tackles game only bettered slightly by Dani Alves(3), Busquets(2.3), and Mascharano(3) who all normally play higher up the pitch than he does thus see more defensive action since Barca press high up the pitch. In addition to tackling he also makes 2-3 interceptions a game. Busquets is the only player who can say he averages more interceptions the Puyol. Although not as technically skilled as Pique he does complete more passes (91% to 88%), but Puyol is generally more conservative with his passing than Pique.
Despite standing 178cm tall Puyol is surprisingly better in the air than Pique who stands at 192cms tall.Puyol has won 71% of his aireal dules whilst Pique has only won 55%. Puyol is also by far Barca’s best player in the air despite being the 14th tallest player on the squad. He will be a vital player if Barca concede a free kicks or corner kicks as Manchester united has some giants such as Rio, Vidic, Smallings, and O’Shea. Puyol is also capable at playing at fullback and it will be interesting to see if Pep puts him their to stop the influential Nani.
Pique is Puyol’s counterweight in the sense that he balances out the more rigid and traditional Catalan captain. Unlike Puyol, Pique is a Modern “Centerback”. He has played over 1762 passes this season, he has averaged a successful pass rate of 88% a game, and he has averaged 5 accurate long balls a game with only Xavi , Busquests, Pinto, and Mascherano bettering him. Pique’s ability to go forward and his comfortability on the ball has earned him the name piquenbauer. “You look at some of the things he does with the ball and it stuns you,” said Spain’s technical director. “He thinks like a forward” and dont be suprised if you see him as a make shift forward either!