BARCELONA: Retired captain Carles Pujol has been earmarked for an important future within Barcelona after being appointed as assistant to the sporting director.

Puyol, 36, who was forced to quit by knee trouble, will  learn the ropes as an aide to Andoni Zubizarreta.

He said: “I want to thank FC Barcelona for everything they have given me before and for this opportunity they are giving me now.

“I have always played football and I have tried to do my best and I will do the same here.”

Puyol won 21 trophies and was a world and European champion with Spain. He made his debut under Louis Van Gaal and helped Barcelona win the Champions League in 2006, 2009 and 2011.

Injuries meant he made only five appearances this past season.

Zubizarreta  said: “We will try to make the most of his experience. We will make sure he is close to all the teams and it is a unique opportunity.”

Albert Soler has been appointed as director of the club’s sports relations institute.

He is a former Catalan Secretary of State for Sport and President of the Sports Council, between May 2008 and December 2011.