Sunday, June 29, 2008

Puyol Proud Of Maldini Comparisons

Spain defender Carles Puyol declared his delight at being compared to Paolo Maldini by former Italy and Milan legend Franco Baresi...

Off the back of a poor season both personally and collectively with Barcelona, Puyol has had a tremendous Euro 2008, leading a Spanish defence which has looked a lot stronger than it is known to be.

Baresi, considered one of the greatest defenders of all time, has compared Puyol's performances to those of his former team-mate at Milan, Paolo Maldini - something Puyol is all too proud of.

"He's one of the best in the world so I'm grateful and proud to hear this," he said.

The shaggy-haired stopper is eager to go all the way and win the final against Germany tomorrow evening in Vienna, and is taking all the criticism that has been levelled at his country in the past on the chin.

"We know the criticism is part of football so you have to be ready for it," said Puyol, referring to Spain's time as drastic underachievers on the big stage.

"But we have followed the coach, pulling through some tough times when we've been criticised and so has he. This has strengthened our will. We have one game left and it's important that all the players do well for the coach as he deserves it."

He also hit out at the criticisms of his defensive partner for Spain Carlos Marchena: "It's very easy to play with Marchena as he's a great player," insisted the Barcelona captain.

"It's unfair that he received some criticism previously but we can't control this. He's shown that he's one of the best in this tournament."

Fernando Montabon,