Puyol won his first cap for Spain on 15 November 2000 against the Netherlands, and remained a regular fixture in the following years. He played for his country at the 2000 Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008, 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup. During the 2002 World Cup, Puyol scored an own goal in the 3–1 win over Paraguay in the group stages. In the round of 16 tie against Ireland, he assisted Fernando Morientes; following a 1–1 deadlock after extra-time, his team prevailed following a 3–2 penalty shoot-out victory. Spain were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the competition by co-hosts South Korea, after a 5–3 shoot-out defeat. Puyol started every game except one at Euro 2008, and Spain’s defence only conceded two goals in his five games. They won the final against Germany, and he was named in the Team of the Tournament alongside his defensive partner, Carlos Marchena of Valencia. He started in three out of five matches at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, and acted as captain when Iker Casillas was rested for the last group stage fixture; they finished third, and he was included in the Team of the Tournament with four of his teammates. In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Puyol started every match and played almost every minute (he was replaced by Marchena in the 84th minute of the quarter-final against Paraguay). He scored the only goal in the semi-final with Germany, a powerful header from a corner taken by Barcelona teammate Xavi, which sent the national team through to their first World Cup final. In the decisive match, he featured for the full 120 minutes as the side defeated the Netherlands 1–0. Spain only conceded two goal throughout the tournament – none of which came in the knock-out stages – also keeping five clean sheets, a record for a World Cup–winning team, shared with the 2006 Italy side and 1998’s France. He also completed 88% os his passes, the third–highest completion rate of any player in the competition alongside his teammate Sergio Busquets, and was named to the team of the tournament for his performances. On 1 August 2010, aged 32, Puyol announced that he would continue to represent the national team for at least another two years. He missed Euro 2012 due to a knee injury sustained in a league game against RCD Espanyol in early May, which required surgery and five to six weeks’ recuperation. The following year, he was ruled out of the Confederations Cup, once again due to physical problems. Puyol played his 100th and final international on 6 February 2013, captaining Spain to a 3–1 friendly win over Uruguay in Doha, Qatar. Puyol’s long shaggy hair was a distinctive feature throughout his career. Barcelona manager Van Gaal suggested he get it cut when the player was 19, immediately after his first training session with the senior players: “What’s your problem, can’t you afford the money for a haircut?”, Van Gaal asked him in his office. “I said nothing,” Puyol remembered, “and to this day have kept my hair as it is. In 2006, Puyol said that when not working, he leads “a very quiet life… I’ve not been to a nightclub in Barcelona for years either. When I go out, I stay in a restaurant with my friends.” Puyol’s father, Josep, died in a farming accident in late 2006 while Carles was on his way to play a match against Deportivo de La Coruña. He was informed of the news by coach Frank Rijkaard upon landing. He said that this, combined with an injury led to a dark period, with Spanish national team physio Raúl Martínez eventually coming to Barcelona: in the player’s words, “…[he] gave me a great telling off. He made me react, and I began to try to be more cheerful, and not overwhelmed by it all.” In March 2009, Puyol told Goal.com: “I do not like to go out much, although it is good to disconnect and I like to read.” In September 2010, he started a relationship with model Malena Costa. In October of that year, he scored through a header in a 2–1 home win against Valencia CF and dedicated the goal to her by making a heart symbol with both hands. “I dedicate the goal to my girlfriend”, he said after the game. In 2011, Puyol paid €30,000 for specialist private treatment for Miki Roqué, a footballer from his home province who was suffering from pelvic cancer. However, the latter died in 2012. Puyol started a relationship with Vanessa Lorenzo in 2012. The couple had two daughters, Manuela (born 2014) and María (2016). Puyol was invited by Iranian television channel IRIB TV3 to provide commentary on the World Cup match between Iran and Spain on 20 June 2018 in a programme hosted by Adel Ferdosipour, but was not allowed in the studio. According to news website Entekhab, the former player said that he had been told by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting that he could not appear in the programme “because of his looks (long hair)”; the veteran channel director had been replaced by one closer to Iran’s ultra-religious hardliners weeks before, and this incident ultimately led to some ridicule within Iran on Twitter.