Best Players in the History of FC Barcelona: FC Barcelona is a famous soccer team from Spain that started in 1899. It was founded by a man named Joan Gamper, who came from Switzerland. He didn’t know it at the time, but he ended up leading one of the most successful clubs in the history of the sport. However, Barcelona has had some tough times in different areas throughout its history.
The greatness of FC Barcelona is connected to important moments in its past. These moments slowly built a project and a philosophy that still exists today. The club has had some amazing players who have made a significant impact and helped Barcelona become one of the four Spanish teams that have never been relegated. To highlight the importance of these players, it’s important to make a list of the best ones who have played for FC Barcelona.
Best Players in the History of FC Barcelona
In this ranking, we’ll take a look at the players who have had the biggest impact on the club’s history and have helped make FC Barcelona the great club it is today.
10. Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman is a famous and highly respected football player from the Netherlands. He was known for his exceptional skills as a defender during the 1980s and 1990s. Despite his defensive role, he had the ability to contribute to the team’s offense with his excellent dribbling. One of his remarkable qualities was scoring numerous goals, which is unusual for a defender. Many consider him as one of the best center-backs in history.
Koeman began his professional career with FC Groningen before joining Ajax Amsterdam. He achieved his first league title with Ajax and then went on to win three more Eredivisie titles with PSV Eindhoven. In 1988, he played a crucial role in helping his team win the prestigious Champions League. The following year, he moved to Spain and became an important player for FC Barcelona. His time at Barcelona saw him win the La Liga championship four times and secure another Champions League victory in 1992.
Not only was Koeman successful at the club level, but he also represented the Netherlands in international competitions. He earned 78 caps and scored 14 goals while playing for the Dutch national team, earning him a place among the greatest Dutch players ever. His most significant achievement was winning the European Championship with the Netherlands in 1988. He is considered a true legend at Barcelona.
9. Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola is closely associated with FC Barcelona. He played for the team from the 1990/1991 season to 2000/2001 and won 16 titles during that time. However, his biggest achievement came when he became a coach.
As a coach, Guardiola became famous for leading the best team in Barcelona’s history. He learned a lot from Johan Cruyff, who was his coach when he was a player. The team played an incredible style of football that amazed the world, and they won six major trophies in one season, which was a remarkable accomplishment.
Guardiola’s success as a coach went beyond just Barcelona. The Spanish national team also benefited from the players he developed at the club. Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Puyol, Piqué, Jordi Alba, and David Villa, among others, all contributed to the national team’s success by bringing their skills and knowledge from their time with Guardiola’s Barcelona.
8. Samuel Eto’o
Samuel Eto’o is a talented football player from Cameroon and is considered one of the greatest strikers in Barcelona’s history. He is known for his impressive dribbling skills, quick turns, and excellent goal-scoring abilities, which have earned him a place among the best African players ever. Whether playing for his club or the Cameroonian national team, he has scored goals against some of the world’s top teams.
At a young age, Eto’o caught the attention of Real Madrid, but he didn’t get many opportunities to play and was subsequently loaned out to different Spanish clubs. In 2004, after winning the Spanish Cup with Mallorca, Eto’o signed a 5-year contract with FC Barcelona. During his time there, he won 3 La Liga titles and 2 Champions League titles, establishing himself as one of Barcelona’s greatest players. He later joined Inter Milan, where he won another Champions League title in 2010, along with an Italian league championship.
In addition to his club achievements, Eto’o has also had significant success representing Cameroon. He has participated in four World Cup tournaments and six African Cup of Nations tournaments. He won the Olympic gold medal in 2000 and also secured two African Cup of Nations titles in 2000 and 2002.
7. Carles Puyol
Carles Puyol had an impressive career as a defender in football. He achieved great success, winning the World Cup with Spain and numerous titles with Barcelona. Many people consider him one of the best center-backs in the history of the sport because of his hard work and dedication.
Even though Puyol wasn’t known for his exceptional technical skills, his commitment and leadership made him an integral part of the legendary Pep Team. He was a crucial player for Barcelona, and his loyalty to the club, having been trained in their academy, makes him one of the most important players to have only played for one team in the history of Barcelona.
Puyol was developed at Barcelona, progressing through the C and B teams before joining the senior squad in 1999. He remained with the club for his entire career and established himself as one of the greatest players in Barcelona’s history. Among his numerous achievements, he has won 6 Spanish championships and 3 Champions League titles. Puyol holds the fifth position for the most appearances for the club, having played 593 matches.
Additionally, Puyol has made a significant impact on the Spanish national team. He played a crucial role in Spain’s victories at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. Not only a defensive force, he has also contributed to the team’s attack, as seen in the World Cup semi-final against Germany, where he scored the lone goal of the match. Carles Puyol is rightly considered one of the best Spanish players of all time.
6. Hristo Stoichkov
Hristo Stoichkov is an exceptional Bulgarian player and a true legend at FC Barcelona. Known for his impressive technical skills, he had a knack for leaving his opponents stunned with his feints and dribbles. Despite his reputation as a “bad boy,” Stoichkov is widely regarded as one of the best players of the 1990s.
Beginning his career in the Bulgarian third division, the young striker quickly made a name for himself at CSKA Sofia. He won the Bulgarian championship three times before joining Barcelona in 1990. It was with the Catalan club that Stoichkov achieved his greatest successes, winning the league title five times, the Copa del Rey twice, the Cup Winners’ Cup, and the Champions League in 1992. With 117 goals in 254 games, he rightfully earned his place as one of Barcelona’s all-time greats.
However, Stoichkov’s impact goes beyond Barcelona; he is also an idol in Bulgaria. His most significant achievement with the Bulgarian national team was reaching the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup. Stoichkov finished as the tournament’s joint-top scorer, leaving a lasting mark on Bulgarian football. He was awarded the European Golden Boot in 1990 and the Ballon d’Or in 1994. Hristo Stoichkov’s exceptional skills make him one of the greatest strikers in Barcelona’s history.
5. Andres Iniesta
Despite being a finalist for the Ballon d’Or award on two occasions (2010 and 2012), it is widely believed that he deserved to win it at least once. This perceived injustice remains a point of contention in modern football. Iniesta is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of Spanish football and played a pivotal role in the two triplets and the historic ‘sextet’ achieved by FC Barcelona.
Coming through the ranks of La Masia, Barcelona’s renowned training center, Iniesta spent the majority of his career at the club. From 2002 to 2018, he played 675 games and scored 57 goals for Barça. Throughout his time with the team, Iniesta collected an impressive array of trophies. This includes 9 Spanish championships, 6 Copa del Rey victories, and 4 Champions League titles, among others.
Beyond his contributions to Barcelona, Andrés Iniesta is also a key figure in Spanish football. He played a pivotal role in Spain’s triumphs at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup, and Euro 2012, demonstrating his importance as one of the key architects of Spain’s success in three consecutive major international tournaments.
Ronaldinho Gaúcho is a player who holds a special place in the hearts of FC Barcelona fans. He played a crucial role in bringing happiness back to the club. Although his performance on the field wasn’t always consistent, he will always be remembered fondly for his accomplishments as a Barça player. Ronaldinho was even awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or during his time with the club.
In 2006, Ronaldinho was part of the team that helped FC Barcelona regain its status as a top European club. He played a key role in this success. However, his lack of consistency prevented him from being ranked higher among the best players of recent times.
One of Ronaldinho’s most memorable goals was scored against Chelsea in the Champions League. It was a truly spectacular goal and showcased the magic that he brought to any football match he played in.
His remarkable talent also earned him a place in the Brazilian national team. Ronaldinho scored 33 goals in 97 appearances and played a crucial role in Brazil’s victorious World Cup campaign in 2002 alongside Ronaldo and Rivaldo. He is rightfully regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian players in history, leaving an enduring legacy both at the club and international levels.
3. Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernández, a Spanish midfielder, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of the 21st century. His exceptional passing ability and vision on the field have made him stand out, and he currently serves as the manager of FC Barcelona. Xavi is also known for his impressive assists, making him one of the best in the history of football. While he doesn’t score many goals himself, he remains instrumental both at the club and national level.
Having been trained at FC Barcelona, Xavi quickly established himself as an integral part of the team, forming remarkable partnerships with players like Iniesta and Messi. With 767 appearances over 17 seasons, he holds the second-highest number of appearances in the history of the club. During his time at Barcelona, Xavi won the Spanish League title eight times, the Copa del Rey three times, and the Champions League four times. He is still widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of Barcelona.
Xavi also enjoyed significant success with the Spanish national team. He is the second-most capped player for Spain, having earned 133 international appearances. Notably, he played a crucial role in Spain’s triumphs at Euro 2008, Euro 2012, and the 2010 World Cup, which showcased one of the most exceptional Spanish teams ever assembled.
2. Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff, a Dutch striker, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of football. Despite his slender physique, he possessed exceptional technical skills and physicality, making him the epitome of a modern player. Known for his superb passing, goal-scoring ability, and most notably, his exceptional dribbling skills, Cruyff is considered one of the greatest dribblers of all time.
Cruyff began his professional career at Ajax Amsterdam, where he achieved great success. He won the Dutch League title eight times and the Champions League three times with Ajax before moving to Barcelona. In Spain, he won the domestic league and Copa del Rey with Barcelona, leaving an indelible mark on Spanish football. Cruyff is revered as one of the greatest players in the history of FC Barcelona.
In the Dutch national team, Cruyff’s impact was significant. He led the team to the final of the 1974 World Cup and the semifinals of the 1976 European Nations Championship. Despite being considered the best team in the world at the time, the Dutch team did not secure any titles during Cruyff’s international career. Following his playing days, Johan Cruyff went on to become one of the greatest coaches in the history of football.
1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi, the Argentine superstar, rightfully claims the top spot in our ranking of the greatest players in the history of FC Barcelona. Messi has emerged as one of the most exceptional footballers of recent times. His remarkable talent and creativity on the ball make him a formidable dribbler in Europe. Not only does he possess unparalleled passing skills, but he is also one of the greatest goal-scorers in the sport’s history.
Messi has dedicated the majority of his career to the club. He undeniably stands as the player with the most appearances for the club, having played 778 games. Moreover, he holds the record as Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer with an astounding 672 goals to his name. Throughout his tenure, Messi has secured an impressive collection of major trophies, including 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa del Rey victories, and 4 Champions League triumphs.
Lionel Messi, the amazing Argentine player, had a harder time winning titles when playing for his national team. In 2014, he led Argentina to the World Cup final, although the team ultimately fell short against Germany. However, he recently achieved big success by winning the Copa América in 2021 and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022. These victories brought him great joy and recognition on the international stage. Messi’s outstanding contributions both at Barcelona and on the international stage have solidified his place as one of the greatest players in football history.