A club rich with heritage and history, Barcelona has been the home of some of the greatest players in history over the years. Read on to learn the 10 best Barcelona players of all time.
Founded in 1899, FC Barcelona has achieved significant glory in European football, which wouldn’t have been possible without their top players. World-class players like Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Rivaldo, Ronaldo etc brought different charisma to the field.
Barcelona’s beautiful play wouldn’t have been possible without the quality of players they had. This is not a story of one decade, as we have seen many players come to Camp Nou as unknown and left as superstars in several decades. So, let’s find out the top 10 players.
10. Ronald Koeman (1989-1995)
Ronald Koeman was a member of the famous Barcelona’ Dream team’. Apart from his high-level defensive qualities, the central defender was known for his shooting skills. Koeman scored 86 goals in 262 matches in the Blaugrana journey. But none of them was as important as the free-kick goal he scored in the 1992 European Cup Final against Sampdoria to secure the first European glory for Barcelona.
His contributions have made a big difference in the history of the club; hence we have picked Ronald Koeman in the 10th spot of the 10 best Barcelona players of all time.
9. Rivaldo (1997-2002)
Rivaldo played six seasons with Barcelona, and during that span, he became the top footballer in the world, eventually winning the Ballon d’Or in 1999. Rivaldo bagged 130 goals for the Catalan club in 235 matches, helping them win 2 Spanish league titles, 1 Spanish cup and 1 Uefa Supercup winner. He has left a legacy behind, so we have picked him for the 9th position in the 10 best Barcelona players of all time.
8. César (1939–1955)
César Rodriguez joined the club when Barcelona wasn’t a dominating force in world football. However, he ensured that his team secured a better position. In his 16 year spell with the club, he scored 232 goals in 351 games which was a long-standing record until Lionel Messi broke it.
He helped the team win 5 Spanish league titles, 3 Spanish cups and 3 Copa Eva Duarte. Due to his influential role in the Blaugrana shirt, we have picked him in the 8th position of the 10 best Barcelona players of all time.
7. László Kubala (1951–1961)
László Kubala became an inspirational figure in Barcelona after he helped the team become a formidable force in Spanish football. A technically gifted player, Kubala was known for his goal-scoring abilities. His 280 goals in 345 appearances across all competitions helped the Catalan team overcome their rival’s shadow.
During his 10 year spell with the club, he won the league title 4 times, the Spanish cup 5 times, Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 2 times and Copa Eva Duarte 2 times. László Kubala has secured the 7th spot in the 10 best Barcelona players of all time.
6. Carles Puyol (1999-2014)
Carles Puyol was known for his leadership skills, world-class defensive skills and winning mentality. Coming out of the famous La Masia academy, Puyol developed himself into one of the greatest central defenders of all time.
Maybe, on some occasions, he wasn’t in the best shape or lacked the pace and skills, but In the 593 games he has played for Barcelona, his total commitment remained certain. Since wearing the armband in 2004, he has shown the footballing world how a captain should behave on the football pitch.
He has won 3 Champions League titles in the Blaugrana shirt, out of which he led the team in 2 of them. Having won 6 La Liga, 2 Club World Cup and several other significant accolades, he has found a spot in the 10 Best Barcelona Players of all time.
5. Andres Iniesta (2002-2018)
Andres Iniesta‘s class was already visible when he played in Barcelona’s youth teams. But nobody would have thought then that this 1,71 m midfielder would set the game’s tempo for the years to come. Having incredible passing accuracy, dribbling skills, game awareness and shooting abilities, Iniesta became a crucial player for Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona team that dominated world football like none.
The Spaniard formed a partnership with Xavi and Messi in the midfield that became the group’s heart. Iniesta managed the leadership role impressively after becoming the captain in 2018. Iniesta has scored a total of 57 goals in 674 matches across all competitions for Barcelona.
But, none of them was more important than the goal in the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea in 2009. Having won 4 Champions League, 9 La Liga, 3 Club World Cup and several other significant accolades, Iniesta has secured his place among the 10 best Barcelona players of all time.
4. Xavi (1998-2015)
Xavi‘s ball controlling abilities, coupled with his passing skills, made him a monster in the midfield. Mostly he stayed in the central area and dictated the pace of the game, but on some occasions, he also advanced into the opponent’s penalty area and showcased his shooting abilities.
He was one of the crucial parts of Barcelona’s golden era, and later on, he became the captain of the team as well. He has bagged 85 goals and 185 assists in 767 appearances, which is impressive for a player who rarely advanced in attacking positions.
Xavi helped the Blaugrana win 8 La Liga, 4 Champions League, 2 Club world cup and several other major titles. He was one of the greatest midfielders during his peak years, and without him, the 10 best Barcelona players of all time list is incomplete.
3. Ronaldinho (2003-2008)
Before Ronaldinho‘s arrival, Barcelona was going through a tough time as bitter rivals Real Madrid were winning everything on the plate. However, the Brazilian forward changed the mentality and attitude of the team altogether.
His dazzling runs, effortless dribbles, and impressive moves with the ball left the world in awe of him. During his time at Barcelona, which was also his peak years, it was challenging to say a player’s name that was more exciting to watch than Ronaldinho.
Even though he only won one Champions League and 2 Spanish titles in his span with the Blaugrana club, the significance of the achievement is very high, considering he gave the team a new identity. Apart from the club titles, he won the 2005 Ballon d’Or as a Barcelona star.
2. Johan Cruyff (1973-1978)
There isn’t any person more influential in Barcelona’s history than Dutch legend Johan Cruyff. Back in 1973, when he was already a superstar due to his impressive spell with hometown club Ajax, he had two offers from the two biggest Spanish teams: Barcelona and Real Madrid.
However, in the end, he decided to come to Camp Nou due to his resilience against Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. He scored 59 goals in 174 matches across all competitions for the Blaugrana club and picked up 2 Ballon d’Ors in the process.
Even though he won only one league title in the 1973/74 season, it was the first one since 1960; hence the stakes were much higher. Because of the importance of his spell in the Blaugrana jersey, we have placed Cruyff in the 2nd position of the 10 best Barcelona players of all time.
1. Lionel Messi (2004-2021)
One of the greatest players of all time, Lionel Messi‘s span with Barcelona was probably the most successful span in the club’s history. Lionel Messi was the heart of Barcelona’s golden era, and without his contributions, the Blaugrana wouldn’t have probably reached their grand status.
Messi had to sign his first contract with the Catalan club on a napkin, and the rest is history. The player with the most Ballon d’Ors dominated world football for more than 15 years and helped Barcelona win 10 La Liga, 4 Champions League and several other major titles.
Even though the club management was miserably failing in player recruitment and financial planning in his final years, the Argentine was giving top-notch performances on big occasions. His departure in 2021 broke many hearts, but the legacy he has left is immense.
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