La Liga club FC Barcelona have had the privilege of being home to some of the greatest players the world has ever seen. The 26-time La Liga champions are laden with glory and have traditionally had a good hold of the transfer market.
Barcelona’s youth system, La Masia, is also arguably the best in the world, producing one gem after the other for years. Their exceptional mix of young academy graduates and high-profile transfers has given us some iconic lineups. And today, we are going to take a look at the stars of the show.
The list-of-five we are focusing on today is not necessarily about the greatest Barcelona legends who were most successful at the club. It is about the best players in history who called Barcelona home at one time or the other. Keeping this clear distinction in mind, let us check out
The 5 greatest players to take to the field for Barcelona
Honorable mention: Andres Iniesta
#5 Xavi (1998-2015)
It is not easy to rank the five greatest players to play for Barcelona, especially because it is unfair to so many legends of the club. Still, even on such a cruel list, we could not help but include one of the brightest graduates of La Masia, Xavi.
Xavi was not an early bloomer by any means, but he had always shown touches of greatness. His intricate passes, organisational skills, and vision were extraordinary, but it was his footballing brain that established him as one of the best midfielders in history.
Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, Xavi managed to unlock his full potential, and was the cornerstone of the team that conquered everything in 2009. He was also an integral part of the treble-winning side of 2015, after which he decided to call it a day at Camp Nou. Xavi, who made 767 appearances for Barcelona and won 8 La Liga titles and 4 UEFA Champions League trophies, is a hot favorite to return to Camp Nou in the future; this time as first-team coach.
#4 Ronaldinho (2003-2008)
In the early 2000’s, Barcelona were having a hard time establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in Europe. They struggled to stand up to Real Madrid and were all but irrelevant in the UEFA Champions League.
Ronaldinho came in as a knight in shining armor for the Catalan club in 2003. He brought hope, joy, and optimism with his insane bag of tricks. He could dribble better than anyone, could shoot from anywhere, and was unstoppable in one-on-one situations, which came in handy both in Europe and Spain.
Banking on Ronaldinho, Barcelona took the fight to Real Madrid and eventually won the 2005-06 La Liga title. He also helped the team bag their first UEFA Champions League title in 14 years in the same campaign. The Brazilian was also a mentor to Lionel Messi, who went on to shatter all records for the Blaugrana.
After amassing two La Liga trophies, two Super Cups and the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League, Ronaldinho left Barcelona for AC Milan in 2008.