Carles Puyol confirmed he will be leaving Barcelona at the end of the season in a press conference called by the player on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old defender was notably moved by the occasion as he told watching reporters and members of the Barcelona squad that this would be his last season after 14 years at the club.

He said: 'After two knee operations I can no longer perform as I wish' but assured supporters, 'there are three months of the season to go and I will not drop my guard between now and then'. He also promised a full goodbye press conference at the end of the campaign.

On the subject of his future he added: 'I need to rest at the end of the season and then we will see,' effectively ruling himself out of Spain’s World Cup squad but leaving the door open to a possible move to the US or the Far East in the summer.

At the weekend Puyol played his 593rd game for Barcelona meaning only Xavi Hernandez with 709 has played more as an outfield player. In Sunday’s win over Almeria both players scored for the first time in the same game in their illustrious careers.

Puyol started out at Barcelona as 17-year-old playing 80 games for the club’s youth team. He had played as a winger as a boy but developed as a right-back and was given his debut under Louis Van Gaal in 1999.

But it was as a commanding central defender that he really thrived - lifting six out of a possible six trophies in Pep Guardiola’s first full year as Barça coach.

With three European Cup medals and a total of 21 trophies, the player whose all-action style earned him the nickname Tarzan, will go down as one of Barcelona’s all-time greats.