Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has launched a new career as a players' agent and reportedly begun targeting promising La Liga-based defenders as his first clients.
Puyol, 37, retired at the end of the 2013-14 season, having won three Champions Leagues and six La Liga titles during 15 seasons as a Barca player, while also claiming the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup trophies with Spain.
Upon retirement he took up a job as assistant to then-Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, but resigned in protest when his long-term friend and colleague was fired by president Josep Maria Bartomeu in January 2015.
Puyol said in an interview with El Pais that he had joined up with former Barca and Real Madrid midfielder Ivan de la Pena and legal expert Ramon Sostres to start a new type of players' agency.
"We have created a business to represent players with Ivan de la Pena and Ramon Sostres." Puyol said. "Ivan is a football fanatic -- he loves to discover talents, he spends his days watching players. He talked to me about Neymar and [Philippe] Coutinho when they were 14, and about Douglas Costa. Ramon is someone I trust, he will take charge of the legal, contractual and tax part."
Puyol said he would draw on his own experience as a player -- one who came into the senior game without full preparation as a youngster -- to guide emerging stars through difficult moments in their careers.
"My job will be to transmit, using my experience, my knowledge, with the intention of making the player more professional," he said. "I want to be a 'life-coach' who helps them to think, to make decisions, to manage their emotions with intelligence in difficult situations.
"I don't want to be an invisible coach. I want to provide guidelines to solve problems, coming from the base I have, as I had to work a lot considering I did not play at Barca until I was 17. I didn't have the information of the kids today."
The El Pais interview did not mention any players who have or will sign up with Puyol's new agency, but Mundo Deportivo has claimed that young centre-backs Marc Bartra of Barcelona and Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Bilbao are close to joining.