Ranked! The 50 greatest Barcelona players of all time
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“Barcelona had history and culture, the coast, the weather, all wrapped around a wonderful football club that was the spiritual headquarters of a nation,” Sir Bobby Robson said of the side he managed in the 1996/97 season.
Robson was right. Catalonia’s unique blend of art and passion has come to be represented at Camp Nou. ‘Mes Que Un Club’ – “more than a club” – is painted on the stadium’s seats and it’s more than just hyperbole. This is not just a football team but an institution. So let’s run through the greatest-ever half-century…
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50. Yaya Toure
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It’s strange to associate the Manchester City legend with any other team these days, isn’t it? But long before birthday cakes and Etihad screamers, the Ivorian was a schemer in the Barca midfield for Pep Guardiola, even slotting in at the back for the 2009 Champions League final. Barca never saw the heights he’d scale – but he was still magnificent for them.
He signed for 275m pesetas and Abelardo became an unlikely backbone in two league titles and two European trophies. His positional supremacy was unbelievable, seeing out the Cruyff years at the back before he was hampered with injuries. he left in 2002 for Alaves.
48. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
(Image credit: PA Images)
A man who claims he doesn’t particularly like football, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has been one of the best and most under-appreciated goalkeepers throughout his time in Catalonia. The German has been a pillar of reliability through Barcelona’s financial crisis and looks like a building block of the Xavi era. He’ll no doubt go down as a great when he leaves.
47. Giovanni van Bronckhorst
He’s more talked about as Rangers manager these days – and who knows whether he’ll face his former side in the Europa League – but Gio van Bronckhorst was one of the most underrated full-backs of a generation. Winning the Champions League at the expense of former side Arsenal was his highlight in 2006.
46. Gary Lineker
Crisp flogger extraordinaire and the thorn in Alan Shearer’s side during FA Cup matches on the BBC, Gary Lineker is still well-loved by Barcelona fans. He arrived after a World Cup in 1986 that he’d scooped the Golden Boot at – partly because English sides were banned from Europe – and scored 21 in his first season, the high point being a hat-trick in the Clasico. Linksy won win the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1989, before Johan Cruyff’s penchant for playing him out right forced him to come back to Blighty.
45. Javier Mascherano
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Javier Mascherano is not the most famous Argentinian to wear the Blaugrana colours – but he’s one of the most important ones. A conventional Argentinian no.5 at Liverpool, the tenacious tackler adapted to become an excellent central defender and was a mainstay of the Barcelona side that swept all before them in the 2010s.
44. Lilian Thuram
One of the most intelligent and celebrated defenders of a lifetime, Lilian Thuram didn’t even play 60 games for Barcelona. His displays were imperious at the back for the club, however, injecting a touch of class that he brought over from Serie A.
43. Eric Abidal
Eric Abidal turns 40 today! 🎉Just two months before the 2011 Champions League final, he underwent surgery to remove a tumour in his liver…He would go on to play the full match, and was given the honour of wearing the captain’s armband for the trophy lift 🏆🙌 pic.twitter.com/VgpoCEQZh3September 11, 2019
Even Maxwell arriving from Inter Milan couldn’t force Eric Abidal out of the Barca team under Guardiola. The Frenchman was a player you could set your watch by and was adored by fans and teammates alike: perhaps best surmised when Carles Puyol let him lift the Champions League trophy at Wembley in 2011, following a liver tumour and transplant. A fitting gesture for a fantastic servant.
42. Rafael Marquez
One of the longest-serving international footballers of all time, Barcelona got the best of Rafael Marquez, who started out as a centre-back before being moved into midfield and back again. Marquez was the last Frank Rijkaard signing to stay at the club into the Guardiola years, winning four LaLiga titles and two Champions League trophies in his time in Catalonia.
41. Jordi Alba
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It’s plainly obvious at Euro 2012: Barcelona had made a mistake. Somehow, Jordi Alba slipped the La Masia net to end up at Valencia – but the left-back has returned to his home city to play over 400 times for the club who let him go as a youngster. One of the most consistent, energetic and dangerous left-backs of all time, Alba has been a key component to Barca’s success over the past 10 years.
40. Johan Neeskens
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Dutch master Johan Neeskens is one of his country’s favourite sons. He may have only won two cups in his five years in Spain – but he’s a firm favourite with Barca fans, too. Johan Cruyff’s right-hand man, Neeskens was always available wherever he needed to be with his positional sense and versatility hugely valuable to Barca. It’s just a shame he wasn’t there for the glory years.
39. Paulino Alcantara
Born in the Philippines, Paulino Alcantara is the youngest player to either play or score for the Catalan outfit. With 369 goals in 357 matches – a record that stood for almost a century, it’s fair to call him the Messi of his day: every youngster through La Masia has had to match up to his excellence.
38. Hristo Stoichkov
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He may have spent two months on the sideline during his first season for stamping on a ref’s foot, but Hristo Stoichkov more than made up for lost time. The Bulgarian became the jewel of the Dream Team, helping Barca to four LaLiga titles and being the most fearsome forward in the first European Cup triumph. In 1994, he won the Ballon d’Or and World Cup Golden Boot.
37. Victor Valdes
🥳 Happy birthday, three-time winner Víctor Valdés! 2⃣0⃣0⃣6⃣🏆2⃣0⃣0⃣9⃣🏆2⃣0⃣1⃣1⃣🏆#UCL | #HBD | @FCBarcelona pic.twitter.com/Ifv4e2kQwKJanuary 14, 2021
The brick wall at the heart of Pep Guardiola’s first (and arguably greatest) team. Victor Valdes may not have achieved quite what he should have at international level – owing to Iker Casillas keeping goal for Spain – but Valdes was supreme for Barca, playing nearly 400 times, winning six titles and three Champions Leagues.
Migueli – nicknamed Tarzan – played for Barcelona for almost two decades: there at the start of Johan Cruyff joining the club as a player and retiring when his former teammate took charge of the side. He would bully strikers and was a favourite with Cules, playing for the side almost 550 times.
35. Patrick Kluivert
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It was Louis van Gaal, Kluivert’s old Ajax coach, who brought his fellow Dutchman to Barcelona. The striker hit the ground running with 16 goals in his first season as Barca retained LaLiga and managed almost a strike every other game by the time he left for Newcastle, hitting 124 in 249.
34. Ivan Rakitic
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While Luka Modric is the more celebrated of the two Croatian midfield geniuses, Ivan Rakitic is one of the simply one of the best in his position of his era. Stepping into Xavi’s shoes, Rakitic was the cool antithesis to Andres Iniesta’s passionate runs from midfield, always measuring passes with precision and knowing exactly where he needed to be. Four titles, four Copa Del Reys and a Champions League title is some haul.
33. Sandor Kocsis
Sandor Kocsis may have achieved more in his native Hungary with Honved but his arrival at Barcelona in 1958 was the introduction of a superstar. He scored on his debut, won back-to-back LaLiga titles during Real Madrid’s Hollywood era and was desperately unlucky not to win the European Cup in 1961. After retiring, Kocsis opened a restaurant in the city.
32. Thierry Henry
G⚽️AL OF THE DAY🔥 The clásico is almost here😏 Henry pic.twitter.com/l4iCYMNullMarch 18, 2022
Lionel Messi said he dared not look Thierry Henry in the eye, knowing what the Frenchman had achieved in his career already. Barcelona helped Henry complete the set – the Champions League was the only major title that had eluded him at club or international level – and in a left-wing berth, he was reborn as one of a deadly front three with Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi. Barca never saw the best of Henry: but even what they did see was excellent.
31. Josep Escola
A striker so technically proficient that he was known as ‘The Professor’, Josep Escola was Barca through and through. Escola managed an astounding 236 goals in 310 games in Barca colours in two spells and later coached youth teams. Three league titles and three Catalan Championships have his name all over them.
26. Gheorghe Hagi
“Romario said to me, ‘the keeper’s way off his line. Have a go,’ so I did.”Barcelona’s Gheorghe Hagi scores the greatest goal you can’t quite see (1994) pic.twitter.com/E3g9h5HNbUApril 17, 2020
Gheorghe Hagi could score goals that even Gheorghe Hagi couldn’t score. The Romanian is the greatest player ever from his nation and dazzled Catalans with silky touch and incredible power in his shots. In just two seasons at the Camp Nou, he lit up the turf with his genius.
He never had David Villa’s pace, Lionel Messi’s vision or Andres Iniesta’s dribbling ability – but considering what he didn’t have, Pedro gave so much to Barcelona. A workhorse of a forward, a brilliant presser and a man for the big moments, Pedro was loved by supporters for his work ethic and his ability to chip in with the vital contribution.
28. Carles Rexach
Carles Rexach spent 44 years at Barcelona. Breaking through in the mid-1960s, he was there for the Cruyff years, scoring important goals and finishing off his Dutch teammate’s idyllic balls. A one-club man, he bled the Blaugrana colours and is one of the most important figures in the institution’s history, on and off the field.
27. David Villa
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If replacing Samuel Eto’o was a difficult task, David Villa didn’t make it look so. The super striker had pace, a velvet touch and the eye for a goal – but most importantly for Pep Guardiola, he was unselfish enough to work for the team and share the limelight. He might just be the archetypal Barcelona striker, even now.
26. Evaristo de Macedo
Evaristo de Macedo scored five goals in a 9-0 win over Colombia, which earned him his move to Barcelona. In an iconic front three with Laszlo Kubala and Luis Suarez, he became the first hat-trick scorer at the Camp Nou and scored the winning goal to stop Real Madrid winning their sixth European Cup. Rivaldo is the only Brazilian to have scored more goals – and even so, Evaristo’s goals may well be a little more celebrated.
🔙 1994Há 26 anos, @RomarioOnze dava show no #ElClásico marcando 3 gols.Um deles, esse antológico… 🇧🇷💫 pic.twitter.com/KKxNLC8To4January 8, 2020
Hristo Stoichkov made sure he wasn’t late to training after late-night parties – and Barca fans are very glad he did. Romario is simply one of the greatest footballers of all time – Cruyff called him the best he’d ever coached – and with 30 goals in 33 games during his first season, he showed the world he was one of the best strikers in the world. His highlights included nutmegging Peter Schmeichel, scoring a hat-trick against Real Madrid and being named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1994: if anything, he was robbed of winning more trophies at Barca.
24. Luis Suarez
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Barcelona was a rehabilitating move for Luis Suarez, who’d been banished to the naughty step by FIFA following his infamous bite on Giorgio Chiellini. While in Catalonia, though, the Uruguayan became the best striker on Earth and more than repaid the faith in him. Four league titles and a Champions League trophy were punctuated by 147 goals in 191 games.
23. Dani Alves
A beautiful Iniesta pass found Dani Alves to score #OnThisDay in 2011 😍#UCL pic.twitter.com/OvrK8IvxHPApril 6, 2019
It was a Brazilian right-back, Juliano Belletti that scored the winning goal in the 2006 Champions League final for Barcelona: but this one was a different gravy. Dani Alves reinvented the position with an incredible engine, vision and defensive nous, helping make Barca’s righthand side one of the greatest in the history of the game. And if he wasn’t already adored, he certainly was when he came back during a much more difficult time for his glorious second coming this year.
The most expensive player of all time hasn’t lived up to his Barca heights since leaving for Paris Saint-Germain – and that’s saying something, considering he has 61 goals in 84 Ligue 1 games. Neymar was electric in Catalonia, with a combination of creativity and incision that’s god-given. 105 goals from 186 is no measly return, especially considering the two players he shared that iconic front three with.
21. Luis Suarez
The other one. The Spanish Luis Suarez was the first Barcelona Ballon d’Or winner, pipping Real Madrid superstar Ferenc Puskas and one of the most exciting stars in one of Barca’s most celebrated teams. Two titles, two Copas and two Fairs Cups made it a return of a trophy every season during his stay in Catalonia before a big-money move to Inter Milan.
20. Josep Samitier
He was nicknamed ‘The Surrealist’ but Jose Samitier’s record of 184 goals in 13 years set the tone for an entire football club in black and white. Playing between World Wars, Samitier reinvented the position of a midfield general and is still the fifth-highest Barca scorer ever. The star of Englishman Jack Greenwell’s side, he later coached and scouted for the club.
19. Pep Guardiola
(Image credit: Getty)
If this was a list of Barcelona managers, there would be no one above Pep Guardiola – as it is, he was a blooming good footballer, too. The deep-lying playmaker was Johan Cruyff’s brain on the pitch, leading the Blaugrana with intelligence and bite. He was strong, his passing was excellent and even back then, he was a leader quite unlike anyone else. He was a fulcrum in the Barca side that won the 1992 European Cup, too.
🇧🇷 Rivaldo with an all-time great against Valencia. 🚲 pic.twitter.com/ixkm4Nls7LDecember 19, 2020
Sir Bobby Robson persuaded Barcelona to sign Rivaldo ahead of Steve McManaman, who ended up on the other side of El Clasico – and what a stroke of genius that was. 19 goals in his first season, 24 in his second and a Ballon d’Or, however, all pale into insignificance, with his hat-trick against Valencia – sealed with a 20-yard bicycle kick – seared into the memory of all who saw it.
17. Gerard Pique
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At his peak, he may well be the most talented defender of all time. The rock at the heart of everything brilliant that Barcelona have achieved, Gerard Pique cemented his place in Barca hearts with a pay cut during the hard time, too. Strong, vocal, a brilliant passer and a taker of a great selfie, there are few centre-backs quite like him.
16. Luis Enrique
Cules were cautious of Luis Enrique for daring to defect from Real Madrid. In his eight years in Catalonia, however, he managed to play in virtually every position, captain the side and even celebrated wildly when he netted in the Clasico. Enrique was a player of deftness and intensity in equal part, managing to fulfil a coach’s wishes whatever the scenario, winning two titles, two Copas and a Cup Winners Cup.
15. Laszlo Kubala
(Image credit: Getty)
A master at finding the net: from anywhere at all. Laszlo Kubala was cool, calm and could dribble his way through any defence, turning Barcelona into a world force alongside fellow Hungarian refugees, Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor. His record of 131 goals in 186 league games would be incredible even these days: he helped set the bar for Barca stars that would follow his path.
14. Andoni Zubizarreta
Andoni Zubizarreta only missed four matches in as many LaLiga title wins and was between the sticks for the Catalans’ maiden European Cup win. It summed Zubi up: he was never one for the spectacular, finding himself in the right position to make saves more often than not. He had an air of composure that few could match and with over 400 appearances in goal for Barcelona, he’s still one of the best signings they ever made.
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Ronaldo was only at Barcelona for a season: it just happened to be the most spectacular single season at a club that anyone had ever seen. The Brazilian struck 47 in 49 games of Barca’s treble-winning season, with his absence contributing to the club not lifting four trophies that campaign under Bobby Robson. Not even a stint at Real Madrid later on could erase the memories: the most amazing of which being his sumptuous solo goal against Compostela . Even Robson was bewildered.
12. Carles Puyol
Mr Barcelona? It seems strange to attribute such a title to a no-nonsense defender, given the club’s adoration for ball-players – but if the cap fits…
Carles Puyol was incredibly commanding for his 5’10 stature, leading several Barca defences to glory. He was pacy, aggressive and had almost robotic concentration at the back. In 682 appearances, he won six titles and three Champions League trophies.
11. Sergio Busquets
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Andres Iniesta and Xavi were flashier, for sure, but Sergio Busquets might well be the greatest defensive midfielder of all time. The La Masia graduate has come to define Guardiola’s ‘Pivote’ no.6, with vision, physicality and brilliance at breaking up play that arguably no one has ever matched. He’s been integral for every title and cup he’s been a part of and 700 appearances later, he’s perhaps as underrated as he ever has been.
10. Michael Laudrup
(Image credit: Getty)
Michael Laudrup joined Barcelona because he adored Johan Cruyff when he growing up. The Dane would become one of the most exciting footballers on Earth under his hero’s tutelage – before falling out with him and completing a controversial move to Real Madrid.
But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Laudrup was one of the most elegant and effortless footballers of a generation in any position that he played. He was one of the most technically gifted of the Dream Team, with vision, speed and passing that was on a different plain to so many of his contemporaries. Without him, Cruyff’s side would maybe still have won four LaLigas, the European Cup and plaudits from all corners – but it would’ve felt a little emptier: like it was missing one of its most influential artist’s strokes from its canvas.
9. Cesar Rodriguez
Cesar Rodriguez was perhaps Barcelona’s very first superstar. He managed reach double-figures in goals in 11 seasons and whether he was helping keep the team in the league or leading them to titles, he was vital.
A key member of the side that won five trophies in 1951/52, he managed to help drag Barca from the bottom to the top too, like no other player has done since: and reports say he dazzled, with an ability to score corners and a prolific touch that no one had ever seen in Catalonia. 232 goals in 351 appearances makes him one of the greatest to ever do it in Blaugrana colours.
8. Ronald Koeman
(Image credit: Getty)
He’s maybe underrated, simply for his poor stint as manager but it’s hard to imagine Barcelona in its modern form without Ronald Koeman.
And not just because the Dutchman scored their first-ever European Cup win. A sweeper with unbelievable vision and incredible shooting from distance, Koeman is the top-scoring defender in world football with 90 goals in all competitions at Barca. He added style to Cruyff’s team after signing from PSV and is quite simply one of the most outstanding all-round footballers to ever play.
7. Samuel Eto’o
(Image credit: Getty)
Samuel Eto’o was the complete striker. So few could be so deft on the ball, so intense off of it. And he was utterly perfect for Pep Guardiola: he helped inform the direction that the Catalan would go in with his attack.
Widely considered the greatest African footballer ever, Eto’o had put Barca on his back long before Pep arrived, guiding them to the 2006 Champions League final and being the consistent spark of brilliance through the darker periods. He was an integral member of the front three he formed with Messi and Henry, too, showing the selflessness and intelligence to give the other two space when needed.
6. Diego Maradona
(Image credit: Getty)
He’s arguably the greatest footballer of all time. He’s worshipped at Boca Juniors and Napoli. But though Diego Maradona trashed the Camp Nou trophy room, got in fisticuffs with opposing players and didn’t live up to his majestic heights at Barcelona, he’s still one of the most otherworldly presences to ever grace their team.
In just two years at Barca, he created moments to become mythologised: becoming the first player ever applauded by Real fans in a Clasico, reducing training sessions to the rest of the team standing and watching him and winning three cups in 1983. Maradona ensured that Barcelona was a place for the truly spectacular. His return of 38 goals in 58 Barca games isn’t quite testament to quite how much genius he sewed in Spanish football.
On this day, 2005:Ronaldinho scored *that* goal against Chelsea 🤯An all-time classic 💥 pic.twitter.com/nsCO6AszM6March 8, 2019
The showman Ronaldinho was the last of the Three R’s to light up the Camp Nou. He did it quite unlike the other two.
A £21m signing from PSG, Ronnie was expected to inject a bit of fun back into the Barca side – and though he was always there for a flick, a trick, a back-heel or even a hip wiggle (prior to that goal againt Chelsea), his output was hugely underrated. This wasn’t just a performing seal from the Nike ads.
Ronaldinho became one of the best playmakers on Earth during his time in Catalonia, leading Barca to their first Champions League trophy in 14 years in Paris and scooping a Ballon d’Or for good measure. He is still as adored now as he was back then.
4. Johan Cruyff
(Image credit: Getty)
Pundits, analysts and football nerds fawn over the Dream Team, the diamond midfield and Johan Cruyff’s contribution to coaching so much that they sometimes forget just how much of a genius he was on the pitch.
It’s similar to how the Cruyff Turn is replayed at every World Cup – yet the flying backheel he scored to meet a cross with against Atletico Madrid is perhaps the greatest goal you’ve never seen. And the Dutchman was full of these moments. He had vision, versatility, guile, passing ability and the eye for something that no one had ever witnessed: he was quite simply one of a kind and the marriage of football’s greatest artist with a city of such culture was a match made in heaven.
Were it not for his on-pitch exploits, the history of Barcelona would look very different indeed. Johan Cruyff changed football – and the Camp Nou was blessed to be his stage for so many of his most wonderful moments. Just two trophies in his playing days there don’t do justice to quite what a force he was.
3. Andres Iniesta
(Image credit: Getty)
“He has masterminded some of football’s finest heists, but his fingerprints are rarely found at the scene,” author Musa Okwonga once said of Andres Iniesta. It’s the perfect description of a man who scored fewer goals at club level than John Terry.
The Spaniard first made himself known to European audiences by coming on in the 2006 Champions League final and changing the game. His directness, dribbling, touch and movement has become legendary, with mentor Pep Guardiola assessing that “his mastery of the relationship between space and time,” is second to none.
Because though Iniesta was rarely the full stop at the end of the move, he was everything that Cules hold dear. He was beautiful to watch, looked after the ball like his life depended on it and played the game with such grace that he made it look like ballet. Plenty have tried to replicate him: none ever truly will.
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Xavi might well be La Masia’s proudest product: the complete midfielder in its considerably cultured image. A metronome of the game who was schooled in the Barcelona way from the age of 11 and stood on top of the world to represent the club.
Giving the ball to Xavi was basically a cheat code: he would unlock any defence with a feint, a shoulder drop and the most perfectly measured pass. His vision has become legendary that the fact that he so rarely relinquished possession has almost become underrated. Quite simply, he always put the ball in a better place than the place he received it.
Jorge Valdano once said that “If football was a science, Xavi would have discovered the formula.” There may never be a footballer with quite such a combination of intelligence, delicacy and awareness. He is the very model of everything the club aspire to.
1. Lionel Messi
(Image credit: Getty)
The numbers of his career have to be seen to be believed. 672 goals in 778 appearances for Barcelona. 228 assists on top of that. 10 domestic titles, four Champions Leagues, seven Ballon d’Ors, six European Golden Shoes and eight hat-tricks in Europe (a joint record with you know who).
We often talk of Messi’s achievements through pure numbers – and perhaps that’s how he sees the game, crunching the angles as he glides through defenders. But it doesn’t do justice to the magic that he’s given to Barca fans along the way. The last-minute Clasico goal in which he held his shirt aloft at the Camp Nou. Putting Jerome Boateng on his backside. The Getafe goal. The move to false nine. The 2011 Champions League final performance. The countless moments he did something that no one else could.
And that’s just a few. He’s not only Barcelona’s greatest player ever, he’s the most talented person to ever lace up their football boots, having changed the game one shoulder drop at a time.
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RANKED! The 10 best Barcelona sides ever
QUIZ! How many of the 49 Barcelona players to play under Pep Guardiola in La Liga can you name?
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson’s season at Barcelona to Robinho’s career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.
Barcelona: 13 Best Players in Club History | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors
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Ryan GuillemetteCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2011
Barcelona: 13 Best Players in Club History
0 of 13
Barcelona is arguably one of the best football clubs in the world. They are famous for producing incredible players with jaw-dropping ability.
This is a look at some of the best players to grace the pitch for this amazing club. There is a range of players who are on this list for their various abilities on the pitch.
Barcelona is a massive club that has produced a huge number of very talented players. With that in mind, I could not fit every player on this list. I would love to hear comments on players you think would be good additions. Enjoy.
1 of 13
Lionel Messi is currently one of the best players in the world.
He has passed the 100-goal mark and will go down as one of the greats in this club when he finishes. He has been named a two-time World Player of the Year and continues to impress and create jaw-dropping finishes for Barcelona.
2 of 13
Ronaldinho is one of the best players to play on the pitch.
He is one of the most exciting players to watch and has mesmerized fans with his ball movement and his free-kick ability. Ronaldinho is an incredible player who can do amazing things with the ball that leave defenders dumbfounded. If you need more proof, YouTube this guy and see for yourself.
3 of 13
Maradona has taken on the title of being one of the best players EVER.
The great debate takes place mainly between Maradona and Pele. Both are incredible players who had amazing skill. Maradona did things with the ball that no one had ever seen before. He has been awarded countless awards and has been a part of many championship teams. He is simply amazing.
4 of 13
Xavi may be the biggest component of Barcelona’s current team.
Xavi is an expert passer. He is the playmaker who controls the flow on this team. He is one of the most decorated players to grace the pitch for Barcelona and continues to show off his skill with jaw-dropping skill. Xavi, like many of the Barcelona players, will go down as one of the greats.
5 of 13
Johan Cruyff is known as a total footballer, and he has earned that title.
Cruyff was known for his technical ability, speed and acceleration. His greatest skill was his vision. Cruyff knew where his teammates were and made the appropriate play to give his team the best scoring opportunity. He helped lead Barcelona to a title in his debut season, making him a huge player for Barcelona.
6 of 13
Samuel Eto’o is another great player who has donned the Barca colors.
Eto’o was a great player who was a major player for Barcelona while he was there. In 145 appearances for Barcelona, Eto’o scored 108 goals in league play. He was subjected to racism on the pitch, but that never stopped him from being a great player.
7 of 13
When you look at Barcelona’s defense, Puyol is one of the best.
He has captained the team during one of its greatest eras. He has led the team to three Champions League titles and five domestic league Titles. Puyol goes down as one of the best defenders in the modern game. He is a consistent player who can be relied on in key situations.
8 of 13
Romário is one of Barcelona’s most prolific goal scorers.
He is one of the most impressive goal scorers in La Liga. He had a short stay in Barcelona, but he did amazing things during that period. He was the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1994, going down as one of the many players to win the award.
9 of 13
Ronald Koeman was a crucial player to Barcelona.
He scored the winning goal in the 1992 Champions League Final and scored 102 goals. He was a integral part of Barcelona’s back line with Johan Cruyff. He was an idol for Barcelona in the time he spent with the club.
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Kubala was an amazing forward who has did a lot for Barcelona.
Kubala scored 274 goals in 345 appearances, which is impressive in itself. He was a strong dribbler who had a strong shot that was very accurate, making keepers everywhere fear him. He was also a winner of four Spanish titles.
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Stoichkov played alongside Romario and was one of the most popular players of his time.
Stoichkov was one of the “dream team” players that would go on to win four consecutive La Liga titles. He would go on to score 85 goals in 175 appearances. He also had a hatred of Real Madrid, which made fans happy.
12 of 13
Guardiola is the current manager of the Barcelona club.
He was the Captain of the Dream Team and is considered as one of the best midfielders of his generation. He represented a style of play that had never been seen before. Guardiola played the game with amazing simplicity, taking only one or two touches. He is the anchor and has gone on to become a very successful coach.
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Laudrup played the game very similarly to Cruyff.
Laudrup was a great passer and added a number of assists to Stoichkov. He had outstanding technique, passing ability and dribbling ability. He was famous for looking one way and passing another. He was a great player who lost a lot of fans when he moved to Real Madrid, but he was still a great contributor to Barcelona’s team.
11 Barcelona’s best players in the 21st century – Spanish Cuisine – Blogs
12 seasons, 535 matches
Brutal bald head and occasional 9000 3 fatal mistakes gave the permanent goalkeeper of Barcelona an affectionately condescending nickname in the Russian-speaking environment – Vitka Balbes. Something between the hero of “Yeralash” and the folkloric Ivanushka the Fool. That’s just compared to those goalkeepers that Barca had until the second half of the 2002/03 season, Valdez was just Spinoza.
Yes, he loved assisting David Villa long before he moved to Catalonia. But on the other hand, Victor played almost every clasico at the highest level and performed the most important element of goalkeeping for Barcelona – played the de facto last defender , boldly and intelligently giving passes to partners. Valdés was never the classic goalkeeper, but became the Barça goalkeeper for a decade.
8 seasons, 391 matches, 21 goals
One of the key players that allowed the era of Guardiola to so successfully change the era of Rijkaard. The most active laterals of Barcelona before Alves – Gio van Bronkhorst and Juliano Belletti – weren’t half as productive at the gates of others. Alves forced thousands of TV commentators and millions of journalists to lie every day when they called him a “right-winger”. He lived and worked from the center of the field to someone else’s penalty area, and only returned to his goal to take a nap.
There were times when Alves suddenly fell into monotonous crosses, but this was always due to tactical flaws in the playing scheme at a particular period in the life of the team. The quality standard of the Brazilian, who played 14 seasons in the championship of Spain – his weakest season could be called “just good”. It was worth suspecting that Alves won back, as after a while he again demonstrated the highest level of .
15 seasons, 593 matches, 18 goals (in the 21st century – 13.5 seasons, 560 matches, 18 goals)
Where did he come from among that coaching hash of the early 2000s? While the short-lived president Joan Gaspar was obsessed with acquiring gifted gouges, a curly-haired burly man graduated from the youth academy, who fought his way forward with plowing and hard work. In the defensive mess of van Gaal, he looked like the most reliable element, and he was still playing at the right-back position.
Quite quickly, Puyol became the leader of the team, whose captaincy was repeatedly captured on video . “They don’t make them like that anymore.” Carles not only successfully fought the attention deficit of the young Pique, but also fantastically put out any fires that arose within the penalty area. And Puyol’s feint is something of Arbeloa’s dribbling that happened as often and remembered as long as the northern lights.
8.5 seasons, 377 matches, 35 goals first pass . Shakira, teenage antics, whistling from the stands – all this will be later. At the beginning, he was just an unfinished defender with the most valuable ability to disperse an attack and play with his head.
Piqué also had potential as a captain, but never rose above the team joker. Curiosity and love for a colorful life off the football field led the defender to alternate good seasons with gray ones. And there was a time and Pickenbauer without a shadow of irony in this nickname. Also for Barça, Piqué is the answer to all unbought center forwards. When it is necessary to arrange a bulk, he immediately changes position and plays the role of a battering ram in front.
6 seasons, 193 games, 2 goals
Full backs in Barcelona and Spain in general are always 900 03 is more about attack than defense. Abidal was the most tactically competent defender of the club, who not only worked reliably in his position, but also constantly secured his addicted partners. He was a balancing element in Guardiola’s playing pattern, in which the right side protruded strongly forward.
Their relationship with Dani Alves extended beyond the football field – when the Frenchman needed a liver transplant after complications following a tumor removal operation, Alves offered to become a donor. Abidal refused, because he did not want this to affect Alves’ career, but as soon as Eric was escorted from the club with honors and a slight bitter taste, the Brazilian took his game number.
8.5 seasons, 411 matches, 12 goals
By now everyone has got used to the fact that Busi is one of the best midfielders of the decade and more than one top coach admitted that he would like to be a player Busquets. But you should have heard what was written about him on fan forums in 2008-2009. A clumsy, lanky young man with a bad heredity (his father Carles Busquets is not the last in the ranking of the most stupid goalkeepers of Barcelona), whom Guardiola dragged out of the branch and replaced with him the favorite of the stands, Yaya Toure.
Busquets’ biggest injustice is his deep-rooted reputation as a malingerer. All of it is built on , the only moment of , when, after a real foul by Thiago Motta, Sergi fell on the lawn and “peeped” at the referee. I will name ten players in Barcelona and a hundred more from the Spanish Championship who pretend more often than Busquets. Sergi, on the other hand, has a unique ability to cover the ball from the opponent and part with it before contact with the opponent. When Busquets gets kicked in the legs for the fifth time in 10 minutes, it’s annoying. But all five times they beat him in the legs.
17 seasons, 767 matches, 85 goals (in the XXI century – 14.5 seasons, 716 matches, 79 goals)
90 002 Xavi became a permanent fixture of Barcelona at the end of the last century, but he spent half of his professional career in the shadows. And in the shadow of not some other players, but because of the perception of his position on the field. Xavi was a ball-distributing central defender who had no special highlights in attack or tackle. The stigma of the craftsman weighed on him too, in the era of Rijkaard the player thought about leaving the club.
Everything changed after Guardiola reformatted the team’s play in central midfield, as a result of which Xavi became more involved in attacking activities. At the same time, the trends in the perception of players’ positions have also changed. Xavi did not do anything fundamentally new, but in a couple of years he suddenly entered the front row of , began to be nominated for the Golden Ball and was recognized as one of the main stars of European football.
14.5 seasons, 610 matches, 55 goals
Their partnership with Xavi was often lumped together under one name – “Javinesta”. But the players are, of course, a completely different profile. In the Barcelona system, the quiet Iniesta has always played the role of the X-factor. If the team knocks on closed doors for 80 minutes, then only Iniesta will come up with something new. It is not surprising that it was he who scored all the historical goals both for the club ( against Chelsea ) and for the national team (against Holland).
Sometimes there was a feeling that Iniesta’s individual talent was not revealed and appreciated to the maximum due to the presence of high-class partners that attract more attention. On the other hand, it was for this that he gained his special fame – for being a team player, who did without tattoos and instagrams, and preferred deeds to words. In recent years, he nevertheless matured and learned to speak like a captain both with rivals and with referees.
12.5 seasons, 557 matches, 481 goals
The main treasure of the Catalan club in its history. A treasure of this kind is always not only a boon, but also, in a sense, a curse. Barcelona has a chronic messianic addiction, and over the years this empowering disease has spread from the football field to all areas of the club’s life.
Messi cannot be discussed simply as a footballer, he is a phenomenon, and the evaluation of his actions or game is always mixed with the emotional perception of the evaluator. He has come a long way from the young replacement Ludovic Giuly to the main offensive player, from the “false nine” to the central attacker – and again to the right. And this path is not over yet, although journalists ran out of adjectives corresponding to the occasion six years ago.
5 seasons, 199 matches, 130 goals
Catalonia’s number nine. With this position, everything was also not easy here – before Samu, goals were scored by Patrick Clivert and Javier Saviola, who were highly dependent on their mood, after Samu, experiments with Zlatan and Messi’s transfer to this position followed. Nothing has worked the way Eto’o did in his five-year period – a flexible, hard-working and scoring forward who knew how to wind himself up at the right moments.
With his goals, Barça entered their renaissance under Rijkaard, adding spice to the clasico through his memories of being underestimated in the capital. And it was very in the spirit of the striker that he had the best season at Barcelona when they wanted to give him up. Guardiola did not like Eto’o, he tried to sell it all summer, but in the end they did not find a buyer, and the Cameroonian ended the performances of in Spain with an extravaganza.
5 seasons, 207 matches, 94 goals
My first full text on Sports.ru in January 2008 was about the decline of Ronaldinho. Now I understand that I was strongly, like a fan, then angry with him. The man himself buried his own talent, and the talent of Ronaldinho is the best of what I have seen in football as an authentic spectator. He was not the best footballer in the world, he did not have some fantastic career and did not score mind-blowing numbers like The Two and even many others, but there was no another such wizard .
No, Messi and Ronaldo also periodically showed magic, especially in the early stages of their careers, when for them showiness was more important than efficiency – high-speed dribbling, shooting. But Ronnie could just dribble forward with his strange playful gait, or even stand still and look at the opponent’s legs, and you would be mesmerized by the screen – what will happen next, what will he throw out? In total, for about three seasons, Barcelona went on tour under the name “Brazilian Illusionist Show”. If the time machine is invented, I will definitely come back to watch the match against Chelsea in the 2004/05 season.
Five players who kept me awake last night because they didn’t make it to the final list
Rafael Márquez – Rijkaarda played a fundamental role in the new Barça with a brilliant first pass. In a playful sense, Pique’s predecessor.
Deco is Xavi’s main partner until Iniesta’s consolidation as a starter. He knew how to do absolutely everything in midfield and actually quit of his own free will.
Pedro – due to a simple name (after all, he started as Pedrito) and the lack of a playing background, he remained underestimated for almost his entire career at the club. A sort of Busquets in attack, played more effectively than top stars.
Luis Suarez is the club’s best nine since Eto’o and in history in general. Doubts about the need for his transfer dispelled very quickly and forever.
Neymar – “hero of YouTube” and “the boy who will not play in Europe.” The best segments in Barca are spent without Messi on the field, and therefore, apparently, he is ready to be the game leader of the team in the future.
11 of Barcelona’s best players in the 21st century. Alternate Version
11 of Barcelona’s best players in the 21st century. Alternative version II
11 best Real Madrid players in the 21st century
All 11 of the best: from Spartak and Milan to Khimik Dzerzhinsky
Photo: Gettyimages.ru/Manuel Queimadelos Alonso, Denis Doyle, Jasper Juinen , David Ramos, Bagu Blanco; Global Look Press/imago sportfotodienst, P Largo/ZUMAPRESS.com; REUTERS/Albert Gea
All-time top Barcelona players
One of the most famous clubs in the world, Barcelona has experienced its downfalls at times. But there was no season that new stars did not appear in its ranks. The team seems to attract the masters of the ball. And yet – “Barcelona” in Spain – the personification of Catalonia. And Catalonia is a symbol of freedom. Perhaps that is why the players in the club play so inspired.
1 Johan Cruyff
In the Catalan club, this great Dutchman played brilliantly in the seventies of the last century. His name was then a symbol of total football. With Barcelona, he became the champion of Spain.
But that didn’t seem enough to him. Having switched to coaching, with the same club he has already become the champion of Spain four times, and helped the team win the European Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup.
2 Ladislav Kubala
Hungarian football player, played for Barcelona in the fifties. Perhaps young people have never heard of this football player, but it was he who was recognized as the best football player in the club in its entire history according to fan polls.
Once in the Spanish Championship against Sporting Gijón, he scored seven goals in one match. Until now, this is the record of the national championship.
Watch this video on YouTube
3 Josep Guardiola
One of the club’s most famous midfielders, a six-time Spanish champion, brilliantly won the European Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.
In 2008, he began coaching the main squad of Barcelona. And he also succeeded – he led the team to the championship in the national championship three times and won two Champions Leagues. Now considered one of the best club football coaches in the world.
4 Ronald Koeman
Recognized as the top scorer in world football. In the Catalan team he played in the early nineties. He won four national championships and became the owner of the European Cup.
Currently the head coach of Barcelona. Moreover, in order to lead the club, he resigned as coach of the Dutch national team, for which the Spaniards paid monetary compensation to the Netherlands Football Union.
5 Hristo Stoichkov
Also a star player at Barça in the nineties. With the Catalan club, he won the European Champions Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup, won the Spanish championship four times. In 1994 he won the Golden Ball.
At the World Cup-94 he became the top scorer, by the way, together with the Russian Oleg Salenko.
6 Víctor Valdes
Played for Barcelona from 2002 to 2014 as the main goalkeeper of the team. Among the goalkeepers of the club, no one else could hold out at the gate for so long. Six times he became the champion of Spain with his native team, won the Champions League three times.
In the national team he won the World and European Championships, but as a substitute goalkeeper. Then Iker Casillas shone even more.
In 2005, playing for Barcelona, this Brazilian received the Ballon d’Or. In Barcelona, he played very productively, twice won the national championship and once – the European Champions League.
In 2016 he starred in the movie “Kickboxer-6” in the company of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
8 Éric Abidal
The gifted French left-back won the Spanish Championship four times with the Catalan team and twice the Champions League. He attracted attention with his mobility on the touchline and good ball possession technique.
After the end of his playing career, he works in the structure of Barcelona
9 Gerard Piqué
One of the recognized old-timers of the club. He won the national championship eight times in its composition. Three times he was at the top of the Champions League. By the way, before playing in the Catalan club, he played for Manchester United, where he also won the Champions League.
In the 2009/10 season he was officially recognized as the best defender of the Spanish championship.
10 Sergi Busquets
This defensive midfielder is a graduate of Barcelona’s academy. He has been playing in the main team since 2008. Eight times won the national championship, three times – the Champions League.
Is the vice-captain of not only the Catalan club, but also the Spanish national team, this says a lot. World and European Champion.
11 Samuel Eto’o
This famous Cameroonian footballer played for the Catalans in the middle of the last decade. Three times won the championship of Spain and two times – the Champions League. He spent 5 bright seasons in the club.
At one time, he managed to play in the Russian championship for Anji. Awarded with the Order of Merit for the Republic of Dagestan.
12 Dani Alves
In 2008, he moved to Barcelona from Sevilla for 35.5 million euros, after which Daniel became the most expensive defender in the history of the club. And in the very first season, he won everything that was possible with the team: the championship and the Spanish Cup, and at the same time the Champions League.
In just eight seasons, this talented defensive player won 23 trophies in Barcelona and, to the chagrin of the fans, moved to Juventus, where he immediately won the championship and the Cup again – now in Italy.
13 Carles Puyol
He spent his entire career only in Barcelona and was not going to leave anywhere. He played as a central defender, but could freely play on any flank. This versatility is not available to every defensive player.
From 2004 to 2014, he played 663 matches for the Catalans and won 27 honorary football trophies.
Another graduate of the club’s football academy. He played his first match for the Pomegranates in 1998. Since then, he has won 25 trophies with the Catalans, including four Champions League titles.
He also did not get lost in the national team – he won the European Championship twice and the World Championship once. He is the club’s record holder in terms of the number of matches played for him, both in the national championship and in the Champions League.
One of the most titled football players in the world – Iniesta has 37 major trophies to his credit. He became a player in the main team of Barcelona in 2004. Since then, he has won the national championship nine times, the Champions League four times and the Spanish Cup six times.
At the World Cup in 2010, in the final, he scored the only goal of the national team against Holland, which brought the Spaniards victory in this prestigious competition, and personally Iniesta – the enthusiastic reverence of the country’s fans.
16 Luis Suárez
With Barcelona, this gifted Argentine striker played six brilliant seasons and scored 198 goals against opponents. Four times won the championship of Spain and once as part of the Catalan club conquered the Champions League. Their on-pitch interactions with Messi and Neymar looked almost perfect at times.
However, the club’s management decided that his time in Barcelona was over and literally forced the Uruguayan to leave for Atlético Madrid.
A Suarez joined the Catalan team in July 2014. 81 million euros were paid for him, the amount at that time was a record in the history of the club. However, the money spent is definitely worth it.
Another “deserter” from Barcelona, who recently left the team and moved to PSG. True, here the main reason for the unexpected transition is not jealousy for Messi. For many years, Neymar’s agent has been his father, who does not hide the fact that he is trying to earn as much money from his son as possible. The French club offered the Brazilian player a record salary – why refuse?
However, he did not play that much for Barcelona – only four seasons, but what a lot. Scored 105 goals and managed to win the Champions League. I always tried to show a beautiful game and was one of the best strikers.
18 Lionel Messi
This truly magician of the ball spends his eighteenth season for Barcelona.