FC Barcelona's team of the decade
The 2010s are about to end, and what a decade for football it has been. We have witnessed the era of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, a vast array of big-money transfers that shook the market, and new beginnings in several of Europe's top teams as the winds of change blew. As far as entertainment goes, the 2010s did not disappoint in the least.
Although FC Barcelona's best season came under Pep Guardiola just before this decade began, the past ten years have been very fruitful for the Catalan club. There have been a few mishaps here and there - the departure of Neymar, big-money signings not quite working out, and choking in the Champions League being the standouts.
However, the club has won six La Liga titles and two Champions League titles since 2010, and have been the most dominant club in Spain domestically.
These achievements were made possible by a highly talented bunch of players. Here, we take a look at the best eleven players to have played for Barcelona in the last decade.
Goalkeeper - Victor Valdes
Alongside Sergio Busquets, Victor Valdes was arguably the most underrated player to have represented Barcelona this century. Even though Marc-Andre ter Stegen is possibly the best goalkeeper in the world right now, Valdes gets the nod ahead of him due to his consistency at the peak of modern Barcelona.
A record five-time winner of the Zamora Trophy (given to the goalkeeper in Spanish football with the least goals-to-games ratio), Valdes appeared in over 500 official games for Barcelona and won a bunch of trophies with them. At his peak, Valdes was one of the best in the world and deserves a place on this team.
Right-back - Dani Alves
A dynamic personality, Dani Alves would be second to only Philipp Lahm as the best left-back of this generation. The Brazilian is the most decorated footballer in history, winning over 40 medals in his career, with most of them coming with Barcelona.
Alves moved to Barcelona in 2008 and was one of their best players in the past decade. His attacking prowess combined with his defensive skills made Alves a truly lethal weapon on the flanks, and all of Barcelona's forwards got on well with the defender. His place here is not up for debate.
Centre back - Gerard Pique
Another no-brainer, Gerard Pique is probably second to only Lionel Messi in terms of fan appreciation at Barcelona. A die-hard Catalonian, Pique has been ever-present at the heart of Barcelona's defence for over a decade. Although not as good as he used to be, at his peak, the Spaniard was one of the world's best defenders.
Pique has won a lot at Barcelona - including eight Liga titles, six Copa del Rey trophies and three Champions Leagues. His experience is immense, and his love for the club is probably second to none.
Centre back - Carles Puyol
It would be an understatement to say that Barcelona misses the leadership of Carles Puyol. One of the best centre backs of all time, Puyol's peak with Barcelona did technically come before 2010 - but he did alright with his club until 2014, when he hung up his boots.
A no-nonsense character, Puyol was an integral part of the Barcelona team that dominated the European continent for years. He kept his team in check and was a colossus at the back whose presence made the whole team play better.
Left-back - Jordi Alba
Barcelona recently put a release clause of €500 million into Jordi Alba's contract when he signed a new deal until 2024, and that shows how much the club values this Spanish international.
Ever since arriving at the club in 2012, Alba has been a consistent figure at the back for Barcelona, forming an almost telepathic partnership with Lionel Messi whilst attacking. He has made over 300 appearances for the club, and his pace and vision adds another dimension to the Barcelona attack.