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5 Barcelona rejects who thrived elsewhere

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is one of several players who started their careers at Barcelona but had greater success elsewhere.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is one of several players who started their careers at Barcelona but had greater success elsewhere.
ANALYST
Modified 15 Sep 2020, 23:26 IST
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Barcelona are one of the most successful clubs in Europe. Along with Real Madrid, the Blaugrana have won 91 titles in various competitions, which is more than that of any other club in the continent's top five leagues.

The 26-time La Liga champions have won 30 Copa Del Rey and five Champions League titles among other domestic and continental honours. Not surprisingly, some of the best players in the game have worn the famous Barcelona jersey.

Five Barcelona players who prospered in pastures anew

The likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, among others, have achieved stupendous success at Barcelona. However, there are many other skilful players who haven't been as lucky as the aforementioned quintet.

Things didn't quite work out for these players due to a plethora of reasons ranging from lack of enough first-team opportunities, injury issues or falling out with the club's manager. On that note, let us have a look at five former Barcelona players, in no particular order, who left the club and went on to prosper elsewhere.

#1 Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta

Present Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta began his professional career with Barcelona B in the Spanish Segunda Division where he played for two seasons.

Despite his potential, however, Arteta struggled for first-team opportunities and was eventually loaned out to Paris St. Germain with whom he made his UEFA Champions League debut. Following further spells with Rangers and Real Sociedad, Arteta moved to the Premier League where he found success at Everton and then at Arsenal.

Arteta initially started out as a defensive midfielder in the Barcelona setup before a move further up the field brought him more success. The Spaniard's skill, vision, passing prowess later saw him flourish in a playmaking role.

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In a later interview, Arteta opened up about his Barcelona exit:

"I was playing in Barcelona, and Guardiola and Xavi were ahead of me; it was a complicated situation. By that time I was 17 and Luis Fernandez called me from PSG to sign me. The next day I was already flying to Paris."

After hanging up his boots, Arteta found success in his managerial career with Arsenal with whom he won the FA Cup last season.

#2 Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure was a Barcelona player for three years.
Yaya Toure was a Barcelona player for three years.

After commencing his career in his native country, Yaya Toure played in Belgium, Ukraine and Greece before arriving at Barcelona in the summer of 2007.

Toure, who was considered one of the world's best box-to-box midfielders, was part of the treble-winning Barcelona team in 2008-09. But the player apparently fell out of favour with then Blaugrana manager Pep Guardiola that forced him to leave the club in 2011.

With Manchester City, Yaya Toure found great success, scoring 79 goals in eight successful seasons as he excelled in a bevvy of midfield positions owing to his versatility, passing range and ball-distribution prowess.

Toure later revealed that he never wanted to leave Barcelona and wanted to end his career at the club. However, that was not to be as the player soon found himself surplus to requirements at Camp Nou, with a frosty relationship with the manager further exacerbating his situation.

"Whenever I asked him (Guardiola) something, he always gave strange answers. He pretty much ignored me until City's offer came in. That's why I eventually opted to leave. I didn't speak to Guardiola for a year. If he had talked to me, I would have stayed at Barcelona. I did not want to go and wanted to end my career at Barcelona. However, he had no faith in me."

The rise of the younger Sergio Busquets meant that first-team opportunties became rare for Toure. When City came calling, the Ivory Coast midfielder had no second thoughts.

He was being offered a financially better deal, but more importantly, there was the guarantee of first-team football that was most endearing for Toure. For Barcelona as well, it was a win-win situation as they earned close to €30 million for a 'fringe' player.

Toure, on his part, went on to have the most prolific spell of his career with City, and, as destiny would have it, he was reunited with his old boss Guardiola at the Manchester club.

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Published 15 Sep 2020, 23:26 IST
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