5 players whose careers dipped after joining Barcelona

FC Barcelona v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga
FC Barcelona v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga
Varun Totadri

Barcelona has always been one of the biggest clubs in world football. The Catalan giants are synonymous with winning trophies and playing host to some of the best footballers the world has ever seen.

Their infamous La Masia academy has produced some of the greatest players of their generations, such as Carles Puyol, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas, and Lionel Messi, to name a few.

Due to the size and stature of the club, it's been a dream for many footballers to eventually don the Blaugrana colors at some point in their careers.

While many top players have fulfilled that dream over the years, including Thierry Henry, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Ronaldinho, the club has seen many of those dreams turn into nightmares. The pressure of playing a certain style of football for a marquee club and performing on a consistent basis proved too much for these five players, whose careers nosedived after joining Barcelona:

#5 Alex Song

Prior to his move to Barcelona in 2012, Alex Song had developed into one of Arsenal's best players during his six years at the club. The defensive midfielder developed a formidable partnership with Dutch star Robin van Persie during his last few seasons with the club, providing a number of assists for the striker.

Despite having a number of other midfielders to choose from, Barcelona made a shock move for Alex Song in 2012 and signed the Cameroonian for £15 million.

During his time with the Catalans, Song was often asked to play out of position at centre-back. He made 65 appearances for Barcelona in his first two seasons with the club before being sent to West Ham on loan for two seasons. Song was unable to revive his career with the Hammers and eventually joined Rubin Kazan in 2016 after his contract with Barcelona was terminated.

#4 Alexander Hleb

Barcelona v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League semi-final
Barcelona v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League semi-final

Much like Alex Song, Alexander Hleb developed into a fine player during his three seasons with Arsenal. The Belarusian formed a remarkable partnership with Cesc Fabregas for the Gunners.

Hleb joined Barcelona in the summer of 2008 in a deal worth €17 million and made 36 appearances during his first season with the club but failed to score a single goal.

After spending the next three years of his contract with Barcelona on loan at four different clubs, Hleb's contract was terminated in 2012 and the midfielder joined BATE Borisov.

#3 Malcolm

Barcelona v Chelsea - Preseason Friendly
Barcelona v Chelsea - Preseason Friendly

Brazilian winger Malcolm was one of the biggest prospects in world football while at French club Bordeaux. He was known for scoring world-class goals often during his time in Ligue 1 and developed into one of the league's best players.

Malcolm was heavily linked with a move to AS Roma in the summer of 2018, only for Barcelona to hijack the deal at the eleventh hour. Barcelona signed Malcolm for €40 million, hoping he would be an ideal replacement for the recently-departed Neymar.

Malcolm had to do with a bit part during his time with the Catalan giants. He made just 24 appearances in his first and only season at Barcelona before being sold to Zenit St Petersburg in 2019. At just 24, Malcolm's career prospects took a massive dip following his move to the Spanish giants.

#2 Philippe Coutinho

FC Barcelona v Levante UD - La Liga Santander
FC Barcelona v Levante UD - La Liga Santander

It always seemed like a matter of time before Philippe Coutinho made the move to Barcelona from Liverpool. Widely regarded as one of the world's best attacking midfielders during his time with the Reds, Coutinho was expected to make the move to either Barcelona or Real Madrid.

He joined Barcelona in January of 2018 after signing a deal worth €160 million, making him the world's second most expensive player. A combination of injuries and lack of confidence caused the Brazilian to fail to live up to expectations.

Barcelona sent the attacking midfielder out on loan to Bayern Munich for the 2019-20 season in the hope that he would be able to regain his form and seal a permanent move to the Bundesliga giants.

Coutinho helped Bayern win the treble last season but was unable to secure a permanent move to the club. Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman was eager to hold on to the 28-year-old this summer in the hope that he would continue his good form. Coutinho, however, missed a number of games due to injury this season and was generally a shadow of the player he was at Liverpool.

#1 Arda Turan

FC Barcelona v UD Las Palmas - La Liga
FC Barcelona v UD Las Palmas - La Liga

Arda Turan was rated as one of the best midfielders in the world during his four years at Atletico Madrid. The Turkey international helped the club win the 2013-14 La Liga title and led them to the 2013-14 Champions League final.

His consistent performances earned him a move to Barcelona in 2015. Turan was a key member of the Barcelona squad in his first two seasons with the club, but a mixture of poor form and disciplinary issues saw him get loaned out to Istanbul Basaksehir in 2017.

Arda Turan spent three seasons on loan in Turkey, during which he even received a jail sentence for firing a gun to cause panic. He is currently plying his trade at Galatasaray.

Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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