The 15 Greatest Players in the History of FC Barcelona – Part 1
June is now upon us and that can only mean one thing: CeleBreak with Barça is a little over a month away! As we think about all the dedicated and passionate amateur players that will join us at the FCB Escola, the official training ground of FC Barcelona, for Europe’s most exclusive amateur football tournament, let’s turn our attention to looking at some of the greatest players in the history of FC Barcelona, whose footsteps we’ll be stepping into when we take to the field at the Mini Estadi from the 6th to the 9th July!
15) Dani Alves
When the dynamic Brazilian full-back arrived in Catalonia from Sevilla in 2008, no one quite expected the magnitude of the career he would go on to have here. In the eight years that spanned his arrival in Barcelona until his departure for Italian giants Juventus in the summer of 2016, he amassed 391 appearances, scored 21 goals and became the 2nd most decorated player in European competition, trailing only AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini. Despite his relaxed demeanour and reputation as the joker in the squad, was a player of boundless energy, tireless work rate and enormous technical ability, which made him a fundamental component of arguably the greatest Barcelona team of all time.
14) Luis Suárez
Luis Suárez’s ability has never been in question, and after amassing ludicrous amounts of goals – many of them breath-taking quality – in the Netherlands with Ajax and in England with Liverpool, however, his acute ability to cause controversy has plagued his career. Fortunately, since his blockbuster €82.3 million transfer to Barcelona in 2014, he has managed to keep his nose clean. Along with fellow South Americans, Neymar Jr. and Lionel Messi, has spearheaded one of European Football’s most feared forward lines, and won the prized Pichichi Trophy for the top scorer in the Primera División in 2015 with an eye-watering total of 40 goals in 35 games.
13) Victor Valdés
Born in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and a product of the world famous La Masia and FCB Escola, Victor Valdes is widely considered to be the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the club. Although the number of appearances he made for the Spanish national team was limited to only 20 due to his overlap with the likes of Iker Casillas, David de Gea and Pepe Reina, who he replaced in the first team at Barcelona, his work in between the sticks at the Camp Nou for his boyhood club is the bedrock of his reputation. He was one of a golden generation of Catalan footballers to graduate from the FCB Escola and into the first team, alongside the likes of Puyol, Iniesta and Xavi. He went on to make over 535 club appearances for FC Barcelona’s first team and, during this time, he developed a reputation as one of the world’s best ‘footballing goalkeepers’. He formed an integral part of a rock-solid spine in Pep Guardiola’s almost unbeatable side as they exerted their ‘tiki-taka’ dominance over their rivals all over Spain and throughout Europe in the Champions league.
12) Josep Samitier
Next up: another Catalan, though one whose playing days predate the FCB Escola, but who deserves to be included nonetheless! Josep Samitier was born in 1902 and is widely considered to be football’s first true “midfield general”. His legendary feats around the time of the club’s formation have enshrined him as one of the greatest to have ever worn the Barcelona shirt. Despite his role as a midfielder, he occupies third place in the club’s all-time scoring charts with 333 goals in 454 appearances in matches between 1919 and 1932. Along with other noteworthy greats from the early history of the club, he was the driving force behind 5 Copa del Rey wins in the 1920s and the club’s triumph in the first ever season of La Liga in 1928/29.
11) Diego Maradona
For many, Diego Maradona is the undisputed greatest player of all time, and his feats for Argentina and Napoli ring large in footballing folklore. His on-field genius never came to fruition whilst wearing the blaugrana of FC Barcelona, however. Whilst his technical superiority was obvious, his 2 years in Catalonia from ‘82 to ‘84 were dogged by injury and controversy. The last straw which resulted in his departure to Napoli came after he sparked a mass brawl in the 1984 Copa del Rey final in front of 100,000 fans and the King of Spain himself. Reacting badly to an insult, Maradona responded by head-butting and elbowing a Bilbao player in the face before kneeing another player in the head, knocking him out cold. As ever with Maradona, during his time in Barcelona, he certainly straddled the line between genius and madness.
After terrorising defences in the Eredivisie for PSV, Barcelona paid a then-world record fee of US$20 million for Ronaldo: the fresh-faced, buck-toothed Brazilian phenomenon whose European fame was beginning to grow. Everyone knows the heights he went on to hit later in his career with Inter Milan and Real Madrid and his infamous physical struggles, however, it was in Barcelona that his reputation as one of the greatest talents in world football was cemented. Due to a contract dispute, his tenure in Catalonia only lasted a year, but what a year it was. In this year, he was at his physical peak and his otherworldly combination of strength, explosive quickness and technique that was second-to-none allowed him to score 47 times in 49 games and, at only 20 years old, to become the youngest ever recipient of the FIFA World Player of the Year award…
If you want to lace up your boots and head out onto the fields where all these legends honed their skills day in, day out during their Barcelona days, where the stars of tomorrow are born, then get in touch with us and sign up for CeleBreak with Barça, whether as an individual or a fully-formed team! A tournament for amateur players in such a setting is truly a one of a kind opportunity, so don’t miss out!
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