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3 former Barcelona forwards who are still doing great at the clubs they play for

David Villa
David Villa

Barcelona are one of the most decorated clubs ever and a place where many legendary players have played. Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o, Deco, Xavi Hernandez are some of the top footballers of recent times to don the jersey of the Spanish giants.

There were exceptionally gifted Barcelona players who played at the back, in the midfield, and as forwards.

However, in this article, we will look at 3 such strikers who are still active footballers and are killing it at the club they play for. Hence, without further ado, here are the three forwards:


#3 David Villa

David Villa is a key part of New York City FC
David Villa is a key part of New York City FC

David Villa Sánchez was undoubtedly one of the best players to play in Barcelona colours. The Spaniard started his playing career with Sporting Gijón B in 2000 before he moved to the main side of the club in 2001. After two seasons with Sporting Gijón, Villa moved to Zaragoza in 2003 and then Valencia in 2005.

The 36-year-old wreaked havoc with Valencia and was roped in by The Blaugrana in 2010 for €40 million transfer fee amidst much fanfare. He got the number 7 jersey at Barcelona and put up strong performances one after the other.

After a sensational debut season during which he scored 18 goals in 34 appearances, his 2nd season for the Spanish giants was cut short by an injury. He suffered a fracture in his tibia during a Club World Cup match against Al-Sadd Sports Club and was unable to play for the rest of the season, only managing 15 appearances during 2011-12.

8 months after being ruled out to the sidelines due to injury, Villa made a return during the 2012–13 season and came on as a substitute in the match against Dinamo Bucharest. The 36-year-old featured in the team mostly as a sub but still managed a staggering 16 goals in 39 appearances. Villa moved to Atlético Madrid following for the following season and helped them achieve their first league title since 1996.

After a solitary season with Los Rojiblancos, Villa signed for newly formed Major League Soccer club New York City, where he was also named the captain. He has been on a phenomenal run for The Pigeons and has 80 goals in 124 appearances for them. The striker is also a part of the select group of players who have scored 400 or more goals in their entire club career.

Villa is an extremely decorated player, having won two La Liga titles, UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup, one Copa del Rey with Barcelona; one La Liga title with Atletico Madrid.

Even though New York City are yet to win the MLS title, Villa has always led them from the front. He featured in all of the Major League Soccer All-Star Games (from 2015-18), and won the MLS MVP award for the best player in 2016.

It is not just club level where Villa does so well, he is an integral part of the Spanish national team as well.

Having scored 59 goals for Spain, he is the country's all-time top scorer and was also part of their 2010 FIFA World Cup-winning campaign, where he scored 5 goals, and he holds another national record for the maximum number of goals in a single World Cup campaign. NYC FC finished runners-up in the league during the 2017 season, their best ever finish.

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ALSO READ: 3 former Real Madrid stars who are still at the top of their game

#2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic spent only two seasons with Barcelona and is best known for his time at Paris Saint-Germain. The 37-year-old is known most for two things -- scoring outrageous goals, and his off-field controversial statements. This does not take away the fact that the Swede is a remarkably talented player.

After achieving success with Juventus and Inter Milan, Zlatan joined hands with Barcelona for €46 million in addition to the exchange of striker Eto'o to Inter. Even though the initial contract was for 5 years, Ibra only stayed with The Catalans for two seasons.

He allegedly left as Messi wanted to play in the middle which took away Zlatan's freedom in that position. His relations with the then club manager Pep Guardiola were also not the best and the two were not on speaking terms after Zlatan blasted him in the dressing room after a game.

Post Barcelona, Ibra joined AC Milan where he enjoyed two successful seasons, scoring 56 goals in 85 appearances. On 17 July 2012, the Swedish international signed for PSG and went on to have 4 historical seasons with them.

He scored 156 goals for Paris Saint-Germain in 180 appearances, making him their all-time 2nd-highest top goalscorer after Edinson Cavani. Post PSG, Zlatan spent two seasons with Manchester United before moving for MLS side LA Galaxy on 23 March 2018, for whom he still plays.

The 37-year-old made an immediate impact at the club and scored a phenomenal goal from a volley 45 yards out and another goal with a header in the 4–3 win against Los Angeles FC. He is killing it with the MLS side and has already scored 22 goals in 27 appearances for them.

Zlatan is also the all-time top scorer for Sweden with 62 goals in 116 appearances. He retired from the national team after their disastrous outing at the Euro 2016, during which he was captain.

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#1 Neymar

Neymar
Neymar

Neymar da Silva Santos Junior or simply Neymar is currently one of the best strikers in the world. The Brazilian is described as 'a true phenomenon' for his marvellous displays on the field.

Pace, trickery, dribbling -- Neymar has it all and reminds us of another Brazilian legend Ronaldinho. Even Ronaldinho once said during an interview that Neymar will become a special player in the coming years, maybe even the best.

The Mogi das Cruzes-born player made his professional debut in 1999 for Brazilian club Santos. He was just 17 at that time and immediately got into the limelight. Seeing his ability to play with both feet, his natural talent, and playmaking skills, The Blaugrana brought him to the club in 2013.

The 26-year-old had a brilliant run with Barcelona and scored 105 goals in 186 appearances for them during the 4 seasons he was there. He won the treble with them during the 2014-2015 season and was part of the legendary trio of MSN (Messi Saurez Neymar).

The Brazilian moved to PSG in 2017 for a world record transfer fee of €222 million. Neymar won the domestic treble with PSG as soon as he arrived and was also voted as Ligue 1 Player of the Year for finishing the season with 19 goals in 20 appearances.

He has won many titles individually as well, such as the 2011 FIFA Puskás Award, 2011 South American Footballer of the Year, FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball in 2013, and many more. He is currently playing for PSG and already scored 10 goals in 11 league appearances this season.

Also a captain of the Brazilian national football team, Neymar has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. At a young age of 26, Neymar already has 59 goals in 94 appearances for Brazil making him their third highest goal scorer ever, after Pele(77) and Ronaldo (62).

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Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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