Legendary Spanish and Barcelona footballer Carles Puyol was the star attraction during the final of the Pakistan Super League at the National Stadium here on Sunday. "I thought Pakistanis only liked cricket but I have seen they like football a lot also and it made me happy," Puyol said in Spanish while addressing the packed enclosures around him from the centre of the ground.
Puyol, who has retired from international football, is widely regarded as one of the best central defenders of his generation following his sterling performances for Spain and Barcelona. Puyol, who is here to promote World Soccer Star matches and the next World Cup, was greeted by loud cheers when he came on stage at the PSL closing ceremony dressed in black.
With the help of an interpreter, Puyol said: "Salam Pakistan. I am very happy to be here. It's my first time here and I am enjoying it a lot." Puyol said from what he knew football is the next emerging sport in Pakistan.
"I am happy to know I have so many fans in Pakistan," he said. The Spanish footballer is also due to appear in two exhibition matches in Karachi on April 27 and 28 April to promote the "beautiful game" in Pakistan.
The organisers, who have brought Puyol to the country, have succeeded in bringing world famous footballers like Brazil's Kaka, Portugal's Luis Figo and Frenchman Nicolas Anelka to Pakistan in recent months.