The 15 Greatest Players in the History of FC Barcelona – Part 2

There are just 3 weeks to go until Amateur Football fanatics from around Europe descend onto the fields at the FCB Escola for the beginning of CeleBreak with Barça, as they try to etch their own names into the folklore of Spain’s most famous club alongside some more illustrious names of world football. If you’re as excited for the start of the tournament as we are, then make sure you check out our second instalment of  the greatest players in the history of FC Barcelona and see which legendary figures you can emulate once you cross the famous white line!

9) Ronaldinho Gaúcho

Unmatched skill and ability on the ball, samba flair and trickery, and a list of goals and assists as long as your arm, Ronaldinho had it all. He was one of a number of Brazilians who left their lasting mark on the footballing history of FC Barcelona in the 1990s and 2000s. Alongside the likes of Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo, Ronaldinho thrived on and off the field in Barcelona – perhaps unsurprisingly as many Brazilian CeleBreakers describe it as the Rio de Janeiro of Europe! When he arrived in 2003, the club was struggling through a tough period, and, in the words of Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho was almost single-handedly responsible for the revitalisation of FCB’s fortunes. During his 5 years in Catalonia he made over 200 appearances, scored nearly 100 goals, and did so with unparalleled invention and excitement, establishing himself as a true blaugrana legend.

8) Ronald Koeman

Few players in football history hold as many personal records or can boast as full a trophy cabinet as the masterful Dutch defender, who graced the field at Camp Nou for 6 years between 1989 and 1995. Koeman was the rock at the heart of the defence that helped steer Barça to 4 consecutive La Liga titles in the early 90s, however, he was also known for his unique attacking prowess at the other end of the pitch. When he called time on his career in 1997, he had become the highest scoring defender in the history of World Football, with a total of 239. Though, what truly makes him dear in the hears of all FCB fans, and one of the greatest players in the history of FC Barcelona was his thunderous free-kick in extra-time to give the club its first ever Champions League trophy in 1991.

7) Lázsló Kubala

Just like Josep Samitier from Part 1, next is another FC Barcelona great whose playing days predate the construction of the FCB Escola but whose contributions to the history of the club are exceptionally important! Hungarian legend and attacking dynamo Lázsló Kubala was instrumental in the re-establishing of FC Barcelona as one of Spain’s most important clubs after its near demise during the Spanish Civil War. Unfortunately, his career was blighted by injury and was only able to amass 186 appearances in a 10-year career in Catalonia. He did, however, help fire the club to 5 La Liga titles in the 1950s with over 130 goals. Despite this strong goal-scoring record, arguably his most important contribution to the club was the work he did building-up popularity with the media. Because of this overwhelming media popularity and resulting fan support for Kubala, the club’s previous stadium at Les Corts quickly became too small to fit the insane numbers of spectators who flocked to watch him grace the field.  The logical consequence of this was move to a new stadium: Camp Nou, was finalised in 1958. A bronze statue immortalising his status as a true club legend can, to this day, be found in the grounds of the stadium helped build.

6) Pep Guardiola 

European football would be a very different place were in not for the contributions made by Pep Guardiola since, under the tutelage of a certain Johan Cryuff, he burst onto the scene as a commanding central midfield player at the heart of the great Barcelona team of the 1990s at just 20 years old. Although his body began to betray him towards the end of his playing career in Catalonia, it’s more than clear that his superior cerebral ability and leadership qualities were always the driving force behind his greatness on the field, and in his current profession as a Manager. After inspiring his boyhood club to a number of honours throughout the 1990s as its captain, as well as the next generation of Catalan midfield geniuses – Xavi Hernández, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta all cite him as their footballing hero –  he managed to do the same from the technical area between 2008 and 2012. In just 4 short years, he turned the tactics and received wisdom of the sport on their head and established a period of dominance for that was unprecedented in World Football.

5) Johan Cruyff 

When Johan Cruyff died in March 2016, as one, the world of football – coaches, players, fans, historians, journalists alike – fell silent before releasing an unprecedented amount of praise and respect for both Cruyff, the man and Cryuff, the footballer. On the field during his decorated, 20-year career with the likes of Ajax, FC Barcelona, Feyenoord and the Dutch national team, he was an innovating trickster who played in any position across the front-line and more than holds his own in any conversation regarding the heady topic of “The Greatest Player of All Time”. Like Guardiola, he starred in Catalonia as both a player and a manager, amassing many domestic and European trophies. Cruyff was also responsible for imposing his grand footballing vision on FC Barcelona, including the FCB Escola, which will host CeleBreak with Barça, and the academy principles that led to the likes of Messi, Xavi and Puyol breaking through into the first team.

4) Carles Puyol 

Fans of the English Premier League will be highly aware of the motto “Captain, Leader, Legend”, often associated with former Chelsea FC captain, John Terry. However, Barcelona’s own living legend, Carles Puyol was all those things and more during his playing days at the Camp Nou. Despite his slightly below average height (178cm) for a top European centre-back, he managed to establish a reputation as a commanding and dominant defender at club and international level during a 15-year top-flight career. In this time, he amassed one of the most impressive trophy collections in the game as FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team steamrollered all-comers. His honours include, 782 appearances for FC Barcelona and 100 caps for Spain, 6 La Liga titles, 3 Champions Leagues, 2 Copa del Rey victories, and a winner’s medal in the 2008 European Championships and, last but certainly not least, the 2010 World Cup. Not bad for someone who Louis Van Gaal nearly sold on the cheap to Málaga in 1998!

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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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