When Classy Carles Puyol Got Angry At Barcelona’s Lack Of Sportsmanship
Carles Puyol was always a class act and when he saw his Barcelona teammates going over the top in a 7-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano, he made his feelings absolutely clear.
The shaggy haired defender was the steel in Pep Guardiola's silky Barca side, but he had a strong sense of sportsmanship - and that meant not taunting beaten opponents, as Dani Alves and Thiago found out to their cost in 2012.
Barca were already 4-0 up when Thiago headed in an ugly fifth goal from Alves's cross. Cue a choreographed dance celebration between the pair.
Puyol ran between them and if the booty-shaking duo thought their captain had arrived to join in, they were quickly put right. He shoved Alves towards the centre circle and gave Thiago a little push in the back of the head, while giving both a serious telling off.
There was no violence in his actions, but Puyol's expression makes it clear he was unimpressed by Barcelona players laughing at taking a 5-0 lead against a struggling La Liga side.
Judging by the dead-eyed reaction from Guardiola and his assistant Tito Vilanova on the bench - neither of whom moved a muscle at the goal - they were behind their captain on this one.
The defender known as 'Captain Caveman' played hard but fair and his career was touched with moments of sportsmanship. In 2011 he stepped aside to let Eric Abidal, recently recovered from surgery to remove a tumour in his liver, lift the Champions League trophy first.
"I can't explain the emotions I have," said Abidal afterwards. "It's spectacular. I'm so thankful for the gesture." It wasn't the only time Puyol would ensure Abidal was front and centre for Barcelona honours.
We doubt Thiago and Alves were as grateful for the gesture of being physically manhandled, but Puyol's reaction was understandable.
Not only was rubbing in a 5-0 lead against inferior opponents poor form, but Barcelona had lost their previous Liga game to Real Madrid - pretty much confirming that their rivals would win the title in 2011/12.
Puyol saw no reason for fun and frolics in this - and let his teammates know how he felt.
Pedro and Lionel Messi finished off the scoring to end the game 7-0, but both knew better than to start doing the robot in celebration and risk Puyol's instant wrath.