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Ultimate Barcelona dream team - Messi, Cruyff & Ronaldinho in, Maradona out

10:00 BST 14/06/2022
Barcelona dream team Messi Vruyff Puyol
Some of the greatest players in history have lined out for the Catalan club, but only so many can make our all-time Blaugrana XI...

One of the most decorated football clubs in the world, Barcelona have won 92 major trophies throughout their illustrious history and are the second-most successful club in Spain behind rivals Real Madrid.

Superstars such as Johan Cruyff, Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho have all donned the famous Blaugrana shirt at various points in time.

But who makes it into Barcelona's all-time XI?

  • Victor Valdes Barcelona Champions League

    GK: Victor Valdes

    A Barcelona academy product, Victor Valdes played for the first team for 12 years from 2002 to 2014 and won 21 trophies during that time, including six Liga titles and three Champions Leagues.

    He was an integral part of the Pep Guardiola side that won the ‘Sextuple’ in 2009 and even though he was never quite Spain's undisputed No.1, there is no doubt about it that Valdes is an all-time Barca great.

    Andoni Zubizarreta was a strong candidate for the goalkeeper spot as well, but he just misses out to Valdes.

  • dani alves barcelona

    RB: Dani Alves

    Now, this was an easy decision.

    Dani Alves is not just an undisputed Barcelona hero, but arguably one of the best right-backs the game has ever seen.

    The Brazilian joined Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and played at the club until 2016. In January 2022, Dani Alves re-joined the Catalans on a six-month deal with a clause to extend his stay up to June 2023.

    During the eight-and-a-half years he has spent at Camp Nou so far, Dani Alves has won a staggering 25 trophies. 

    Albert Ferrer may have been good, very good in fact, but Dani Alves was the obvious choice for the right-back berth.

  • Carles Puyol Supercopa de España

    CB: Carles Puyol

    Club legend and former captain Carles Puyol played for Barcelona throughout his career from 1999 to 2014, never once being tempted to try his luck elsewhere.

    He won every major trophy with the Catalan club, including six Liga titles and three Champions Leagues, and was the undoubted heart of the side that changed the game.

    Indeed, Puyol, who is the club's fifth most-capped player of all time with 593 appearances, was a truly special player, someone who personified Barcelona like few others.

  • Gerard Pique Barcelona Napoli Europa League

    CB: Gerard Pique

    Picking Puyol's partner at the back was not an easy choice.

    We considered Ronald Koeman. After all, he delivered that coveted first Champions League trophy with his sublime free-kick at Wembley in 1992.

    But then, that would have meant leaving out Gerard Pique, which, let's be honest, would have been plain wrong.

    The veteran Spanish defender rejoined Barcelona in 2008, having previously left the club for a spell with Manchester United, and is still playing for the Catalan giants to this day.

    Pique has won 30 major club trophies during his time at Barcelona, so we think he probably deserves forgiveness for his temporary move to United.

  • Sergi Barjuan, Barcelona

    LB: Sergi Barjuan

    The Barcelona youth player made his senior debut in 1993 and instantly became a key figure in the Catalans' defence.

    Sergi was eventually deemed surplus to requirements after nine years of first-team service, ending his career at Atletico Madrid instead in 2005.

    His move to the Spanish capital has not affected his legacy, however, as the left-back will forever have a place in the hearts of the fans, having won nine pieces of silverware.

    But what about Jordi Alba? Yes, in all honesty, it was a very close race between the two, but Sergi gets the nod because of his remarkable defensive consistency.

  • Sergio Busquets Barcelona

    DCM: Sergio Busquets

    A one-club man, Sergio Busquets was promoted to Barcelona's senior side from their reserves team in 2008 and has been playing for the club ever since.

    Ahead of the 2021-22 season, Busquets was named club captain after former skipper Lionel Messi left for Paris Saint-Germain.

    He might not be the kind of player to take your breath away with a brilliant piece of skill, but his vision and reading of the game is simply next level.

    The Spaniard has won every major trophy with Barcelona, including eight Liga titles and three Champions Leagues.

  • Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona

    RCM: Xavi Hernandez

    After graduating from the club’s academy, Xavi made his debut in 1998 and played at Barcelona until 2015.

    He won every major trophy multiple times in Spain and in Europe, including eight Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.

    A model of consistency with his precise passing, Xavi was also the most-capped Barcelona player with 767 appearances until February 2021, when his former team-mate Lionel Messi broke the record.

    Regardless, Xavi is an absolute legend of the game and one of the greatest playmakers the world has ever seen – if not the greatest.

  • Andres Iniesta Barcellona

    LCM: Andres Iniesta

    Iniesta is the third most-capped player in Barca history, after Messi and Xavi, and is universally regarded as an all-time great.

    He made the difficult look simple and getting him off the ball simply seemed impossible despite his small stature.

    Scoring goals was never really his thing. That is until he saw no other option - witness his stunning strike in the 2009 Champions League semi-final against Chelsea.

    Indeed, Iniesta always seemed to save his very best for the very biggest games, so that's why he earns inclusion ahead of the likes of Michael Laudrup, Diego Maradona, Deco, Guillermo Amor and a whole bunch of other superstars.

    We would probably have liked to see him retire at Barca, but the man simply loves the game too much to walk away just yet. Vissel Kobe and the J1 League are lucky to have the chance to enjoy him as well.

  • Johan Cruyff Barcelona 1977

    RW: Johan Cruyff

    Johan Cruyff plied his trade at Barcelona between 1973 and 1978 and not only helped restore pride to the Catalan club, but also made them realise that they could get the better of their eternal rivals Real Madrid.

    He won only two titles with the Catalan giants, one La Liga and a Copa del Rey during that period, but his influence went far beyond that.

    A man who would be the best player on the pitch regardless of where his coaches put him, Cruyff wasn't just a supreme talent, he was also a tactical mastermind, as he later proved as Barca coach.

    Cruyff also won several individual awards during his time at Barcelona, most notably the Ballon d'Or twice.

  • Lionel Messi Barcelona Real Madrid 2006-07

    CF: Lionel Messi

    The greatest player to have donned a Barcelona shirt is undoubtedly Lionel Messi, who is also the most decorated player in the club’s history with 34 trophies.

    After graduating from the club's youth system, the Argentine made his senior professional debut for the club in 2004 and played at Camp Nou until 2021.

    The Messi we're seeing now at Paris Saint-Germain isn't quite the same Messi we saw at Barca.

    It's almost as if he doesn't want to tarnish his Barcelona legacy by becoming an all-time great elsewhere, too, because for more than a decade at Camp Nou, Messi reached a level of sustained excellence that nobody had ever seen before.

  • Ronaldinho Barcelona

    LW: Ronaldinho

    The happiest player in the history of football? At the very least, we can say that he made everyone who watched him happy.

    Seriously, who didn't love Ronaldinho?!

    The Brazilian legend played in Catalunya from 2003 to 2008 after deciding to leave PSG for an adventure in Spain.

    During his time at Barcelona, he won two La Liga and one Champions League titles.

    And to top it all off, Ronaldinho also won the Ballon d’Or in 2005 while showing off an outrageous array of skills, tricks and flicks for the Blaugrana.

    If only there were more players like Ronaldinho!