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Who are the Barcelona best players of all time?

Lionel Messi leads the list when it comes to the best Barcelona players in the history of the club.

Barcelona are one of the most iconic clubs of all time and their philosophy of playing attractive football while dominating possession transformed the modern sport. Barcelona pride themselves to be ‘Mes Que Un Club’ (more than a club) and their values in promoting youth talent, homegrown culture, and still maintaining a high level of excellence are unparalleled.

From Diego Maradona to Lionel Messi, from Ronaldo and Romario to Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, from Xavi and Iniesta to Pedri and Gavi, and from Johan Cruyff to Luis Suarez, Barcelona have been home to some of the greatest players in the history of the sport.

Without further ado, let’s talk about the Barcelona best players of all time:

Barcelona best players in history: Top 10 list

Player Country Playing Career Appearances Goals Assists
Lionel Messi Argentina 2003 – 2021 778 672 301
Xavi Hernandez Spain 1998 – 2015 767 85 185
Andres Iniesta Spain 2002 – 2018 761 66 137
Johan Cruyff Netherlands 1973 – 1978 173 59 5
Ronaldinho Brazil 2003 – 2008 207 95 80
Carles Puyol Spain 1999 – 2014 595 20 16
Luis Suarez Uruguay 2014 – 2020 283 198 97
Laszlo Kubala Hungary 1951 – 1961 254 193
Pep Guardiola Spain 1990 – 2001 384 12 47
Samuel Eto’o Cameroon 2004 – 2009 199 130 40

Lionel Messi, Argentina

Who else could be on top of this list? The highest goal-scorer in the history of the club by a large distance, the one with the most successful career, Lionel Messi is not only the best player of all time for Barcelona, but he is one of the best players in the history of football. There is nothing that the Argentine sensation has not won with Barcelona.

Also Read: Most goals for a single club

His list of successes with Barcelona includes 10 La Liga titles, seven Copa Del Rey honours, four UEFA Champions Leagues, three UEFA Super Cups, and three FIFA Club World Cups and not to mention the 672 goals and 228 assists in 778 matches. Moreover, Messi has won a record-breaking seven Ballon d’Or titles while playing for Barcelona and is one of the most decorated players in the history of the game.

Also Read: Why did Messi leave Barcelona

Having come up through the youth ranks of La Masia, it was heartbreaking to see him leave for Paris Saint-Germain because of financial turmoil, but there’s no doubt that Messi’s spell with Barcelona during his career is the pinnacle of sporting excellence.

Xavi Hernandez, Spain

Xavi Hernandez is not only one of the best Barcelona players of all time, but he is also in the conversation to be one of the greatest midfielders that the world has ever seen. He was the metronome of the team throughout his career and Xavi dictated the tempo and rhythm of matches on his own terms. As far as midfield magicians go, he was one of a kind and controlled and marshalled the entire game from the middle of the park.

Extremely press-resistant, capable of turning and twisting at will, always turning his head to find space to occupy and possessing a pass that could unlock any defence, Xavi was a treat to behold. He spent 17 seasons with Barcelona and having played 767 matches, he won 25 trophies. Xavi holds the record for the second most appearances after Messi in the history of the club.

Andres Iniesta, Spain

If Xavi was the midfield maestro who kept things ticking, Andres Iniesta was the creative genius capable of pulling off magic tricks all over the world. Possessing flair and charm, Iniesta deceived and destroyed opposition players with the feint of a shoulder or with the turn of an eel. The hero of three Champions League successes for the club, Iniesta was not only one of the greatest Barcelona players of all time but is arguably the most important Spanish player in history.

It was his goal in the final against the Netherlands that secured the first FIFA World Cup for Spain. Moreover, Iniesta also changed the course of the final in the 2006 Champions League which Barcelona ended up winning and was also the man of the match in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals. Talk about the man for the biggest occasions in the world, talk about Iniesta. Having won two trebles in 2009 and 2015, Iniesta called time on his Barcelona career in 2018 having won 35 trophies which include nine La Ligas and four UEFA Champions League titles.

Johan Cruyff, The Netherlands

If Lionel Messi, Xavi, and Andres Iniesta are the greatest players in the history of Barcelona, Johan Cruyff is the reason why. There would be no La Masia with Cruyff, there would be no style and substance and more importantly, there wouldn’t be a soul. Johan Cruyff is recognised as one of the most important people in Barcelona’s history and his spells as both player and coach were pivotal in setting the culture around the club.

Cruyff was single-handedly responsible in taking Barcelona back to the top after several decades of irrelevance. After his arrival as a player, Barcelona won their first La Liga title in 13 years. Johan Cruyff also won the Ballon d’Or in 1971, 1973 and 1974 and Cruyff’s affinity for Total Football led Barcelona to adapt that famous and aesthetic style of football. Later as a coach, Cruyff also helped Barcelona’s ‘Dream Team’ win the first Champions League trophy in the club’s history.

Ronaldinho, Brazil

The man that helped most fans in the modern era fall back in love with Barcelona, Ronaldinho left an indelible impact on the club. His arrival marked the signal of a new era and the Brazilian genius not only pulled off flicks, tricks, sombreros, back-heels, hip wiggles or showboating but also score plenty of goals, win silverware, and lead the side with responsibility.

Ronaldinho is one of only two people to receive a standing ovation from Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu with an absolute masterclass of a performance. He was crucial in the side’s successful 2006 Champions League run. Ronaldinho won the Ballon d’Or in 2005 and was crowned as the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. The Brazilian continues to be as adored in Barcelona these days as he was during his playing career.

Carles Puyol, Spain

Carles Puyol is the very definition of being Mr. Barcelona. Tall, strong, athletic, no-nonsense, and possessing iconic long hair which made his teammates call him ‘caveman’, Carles Puyol bled Barcelona and defended the badge with everything he had. Puyol is the greatest centre-back that the club have had and one of its most iconic captains.

His leadership abilities made him stand out of the pack. Puyol asking Eric Abidal, who had only recently defeated his cancer, to lift the Champions League trophy in 2011 instead of him only sums up the selflessness and team spirit he possessed as a captain. Making 682 appearances for the club, he won six titles and three Champions League trophies. 

Luis Suarez, Uruguay

Luis Suarez’s departure from Barcelona may have been acrimonious and ungrateful on the club’s part but the Uruguayan striker was nothing but sensational during his spell with the club. Suarez arrived at the club at a difficult time in his career when he got suspended for three months after biting Giorgio Chiellini at the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

Also Read: Messi Neymar Suarez

Suarez is the third-highest goal-scorer in the history of Barcelona and he grabbed 198 goals in 283 matches for the Catalan club. The Uruguayan was the best striker in the world, especially during his first few years with Barcelona and was one of the best of his generation. He won four La Liga titles as well as a Champions League trophy and left an immense legacy at Camp Nou.

Laszlo Kubala, Hungary

If Johan Cruyff had the greatest impact on modern Barcelona, Laszlo Kubala is said to be the first true superstar at the club and the one responsible for a strong era in the team’s history. It is because of Kubala’s skills and displays which attracted thousands and thousands of people to every game that the club were forced to built the Camp Nou (literally translates to new stadium) and it became the stadium with highest crowd capacity in Europe.

Kubala was one of the best players in the 1950s and was the leader of a strong Barcelona side. Alongside Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor, he turned the Catalan giants into a formidable attacking team and Kubala is the fourth-highest goal-scorer in Barcelona history with 194 goals in 281 matches.

Pep Guardiola, Spain

Pep Guardiola’s reign as coach where he transformed Barcelona into one of the greatest football sides in history in between 2008 and 2012 may be the highlight of his legacy at the club, but the fact is that Pep Guardiola was also a brilliant player in his own right. In fact, it was he who first mastered the pivot role during his career that allowed Sergio Busquets to thrive and excel decades down the line.

It was quite clear even when he played that he was a tactical genius on the pitch and he took the role of communicating head coach Johan Cruyff’s instructions and assembling the players in their respective positions. Guardiola was a fundamental part in Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’ of players who won Barcelona’s first Champions League trophy in 1994. They also won three successive La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994.

Samuel Eto’o, Cameroon

Samuel Eto’o will always be remembered for his goals in the UEFA Champions League finals in 2006 and 2009. He scored the first goal for the side in both the finals and under starkly different circumstances. In 2006, he managed to equalise heading into the last 10 minutes of the contest with Arsenal and in 2009, he gave Barcelona the lead against the run of play when facing Manchester United.

Eto’o was a complete striker and not only was he a devastating goalscorer, he also had deft feet and could dribble with the ball while also exchanging passes and combining with his teammates. He is widely considered one of the best footballers to emerge from Africa and Eto’o won back-to-back trebles in 2009 and 2010, the latter with Jose Mourinho’s Inter.

FAQs

Who are the best Barcelona players right now?

Pedri, Robert Lewandowski, and Ousmane Dembele are the best Barcelona players right now.

Who is the greatest Barcelona player of all time?

Lionel Messi is the greatest Barcelona player of all time.

How many Champions League titles have Barcelona won?

Barcelona have won five Champions League titles in their history.

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