Barcelona’s 15 worst signings of all time

Alex Song Barcelona 06122013
Getty Images
As the Blaugrana step up their search for summer recruits, Goal takes a look at some of the poorest transfers in the history of the Catalan club

Barcelona have signed some wonderful players in their time. While the likes of Johan Cruyff, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o were all spectacular successes (along with Neymar and Luis Suarez more recently), there have also been some duds brought in by the Catalan club.

The Blaugrana are currently trying to shape their squad for the 2017-18 season, although only Gerard Deulofeu has been brought in so far this summer and new coach Ernesto Valverde will want at least two more signings.

In the meantime, Goal takes a look at the worst signings Barca have ever made...

EMMANUEL AMUNIKE | From Sporting CP | €3m | 1996

Amunike ex Barcelona player

Part of the Nigeria team that took part in the 1994 World Cup, Emmanuel Amunike sealed a move to the Catalan club after the competition and stayed for four years at Camp Nou.

However, he made only a handful of appearances and after suffering a serious knee injury in 1997, he barely featured at all. In the end, Amunike signed for Albacete in 2000 before spells in South Korea and Jordan.

Why PSG won't sign Coutinho

He is perhaps better known for a distasteful chant aimed at Luis Enrique, his former team-mate, as many Real Madrid fans sang "Luis Enrique, your father is Amunike". Asked about the chant during his time as Barca boss, Luis Enrique said: "Amunike was a great guy."

VITOR BAIA | From Porto | €6.5m | 1996

Vitor Baia ex Barcelona player

Vitor Baia is considered the greatest goalkeeper in the history of Porto, but he had a troublesome time during a two-season spell at Barcelona between 1996 and 1998.

He arrived at Camp Nou with a big reputation after making more than 300 appearances for the Portuguese club and coach Bobby Robson knew him well, but he found himself out of favour under Louis van Gaal in his second season and is also remembered for a number of mistakes during his career with the Blaugrana.

In the summer of 1998, he returned to Porto and ended up winning a host of titles back at his hometown club - including the Champions League under Jose Mourinho in 2003-04.

PHILIPPE CHRISTANVAL | From Monaco | €6.5m | 2001

Christanval ex Barcelona player

A €6.5m signing from Monaco in the summer of 2001, Philippe Christanval made minimal impact at Camp Nou for the team he had supported as a youngster.

In two years at Barcelona, the French international centre-back could not cement a regular first-team place and left the Catalan club to join Marseille in 2003.

After failing to impress back in France, he want on trial at Arsenal, but Arsene Wenger decided against his signing and he joined Fulham instead. And despite a promising start, he faded out of the picture at Craven Cottage too and retired in 2009 at just 31 when he was unable to find a new club.

DMYTRO CHYGRYNSKIY | From Shakhtar Donetsk | €25m | 2009


A strange signing by Barcelona in 2009, Dmytro Chygrynskiy spent just one season at the Catalan club, and it was a disappointing one for the Ukrainian international.

After arduous negotiations with Shakhtar Donetsk, Barca completed a €25m deal for the centre-back in the summer of 2009 and his last game was a UEFA Super Cup loss against the Catalan club he would later join.

Neymar: I could join Man Utd

But he made only 14 appearances for Barca's first team and was sold back to Shakhtar for €15m in the summer of 2010 as incoming president Sandro Rosell insisted the club needed the money to pay debts incurred during Joan Laporta's tenure - even though coach Pep Guardiola had wanted to keep the defender.

DOUGLAS | From Sao Paulo | €4m | 2014

Douglas Barcelona

Douglas joined Barca in the summer of 2014 in a €4m move from Sao Paulo, which also included around €1.5m in add-ons. However, it is unlikely any of those will ever be paid.

The Brazilian right-back made just eight appearances in two seasons and was widely ridiculed after a dreadful debut against Malaga in La Liga. After that, he was mostly used in the Copa del Rey.

Still on Barca's books after signing a five-year deal, the defender spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Sporting Gijon.

CHRISTOPHE DUGARRY | From AC Milan | €4.5m | 1997

Christophe Dugarry Barcelona Barça Barcelone

Barca bought Christophe Dugarry from AC Milan in a double deal which also saw Michael Reiziger arrive for a total fee of €9m. And while the defender went on to make over 200 appearances for the Catalan club, the French forward played only seven times for the Blaugrana.

Dugarry was unable to impress Louis van Gaal and was completely frozen out by the Dutchman, featuring in just seven matches and also failing to score in his Camp Nou career.

M essi donates leftovers to charity

The forward returned to his homeland with Marseille in the summer of 1998 and also won the World Cup with France that same summer. He also had spells with Bordeaux and Birmingham City, before finishing his career in Qatar.

GEOVANNI | From Cruzeiro | €18m | 2001

Geovanni ex Barcelona player

Barcelona's history has been littered with some brilliant Brazilian attackers, but Geovanni will not go down as one of the success stories like compatriots Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar.

An expensive recruit from Cruzeiro in 2001, the attacking midfielder made 50 appearances over two seasons but never looked good enough and eventually ended up on loan at Benfica, where he moved for free after the Lisbon side refused to pay a fee for the winger.

Later in his career, he had spells at Manchester City and Hull in the Premier League.

HENRIQUE | From Palmeiras | €8m | 2008

Henrique - Barcelona

Henrique was on Barcelona's books from 2008 to 2012, which was the most successful era in the club's history as the team won 14 out of a possible 19 trophies under Pep Guardiola.

However, the central defender had nothing to do with it. He failed to make a single appearance for Barca and was sent out on loan three times: to Bayer Leverkusen, Racing Santander and Palmeiras.

He eventually moved back to Palmerias permanently and after a spell at Napoli in Serie A, he currently plays for Fluminense in his homeland.

ALEX HLEB | From Arsenal | €17m | 2008

Aliaksandr Hleb

Alex Hleb also joined Barca in the summer of 2008 and although he did make a number of first-team appearances for the Catalan club, he did not really play much of a part in the team's treble triumph that season.

The Belarus midfielder had impressed in his three seasons at Arsenal, but his 36 appearances for Barca were quickly forgotten and he failed to score in his time at Camp Nou.

He was later loaned to Stuttgart, Birmingham and Wolfsburg - and was last seen in the Russian Premier League.

KEIRRISON | From Palmeiras | €14m | 2009

Keirrison ex Barcelona player

Keirrison, like Henrique, joined Barcelona from Palmeiras. And, like the defender, the striker also failed to make a first-team appearance for the Catalan club.

A €14m signing in 2009, the forward was loaned out straight away to Benfica, before spending the following season at Fiorentina. He then had season-long spells at Santos, Cruzeiro and Coritiba.

In 2014, he left Barca on a free transfer to join Coritiba and currently plays for Arouca in Portugal.

EMMANUEL PETIT | From Arsenal | €14m | 2000

Emmanuel Petit Patrick Kluivert Barcelona

Emmanuel Petit was a big success at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, partnering Patrick Vieira in midfield for the Gunners between 1997 and 2000. However, he did not fare so well at Barcelona.

The Frenchman joined Barca along with Marc Overmars in 2000, but he describes swapping Highbury for Camp Nou as his only regret and hit out at coach Llorenc Serra Ferrer in his autobiography, claiming he did not even know which position he played.

That was after he had won the World Cup and Euros with France. At Barca, though, he made only 38 appearances (many from the bench) and left after a single season in Catalunya to join Chelsea. He was never quite the same player, however.

FABIO ROCHEMBACK | From Internacional | €9m | 2001

Rochemback ex Barcelona player

Fabio Rochemback was signed by Barca as a replacement for Pep Guardiola and it was always going to be difficult for the Brazilian to live up to those expectations. He did not come close.

His performances were very much on the edge, and technically he was a million miles from the Catalan midfielder, who had left to join Brescia in the summer of 2001.

Ceballos reaches Madrid agreement

Rochemback went out on loan to Sporting CP in Portugal, before spending three seasons at Middlesbrough, joining the Premier League club for a cut-price €1.5m in 2005.

RUSTU RECBER | From Fenerbahce | Free | 2003

Classics: Rustu Recber (Turkey)

Barcelona signed Rustu Recber on a free transfer from Fenerbahce in the summer of 2003, but the Turkey goalkeeper was left out of the Catalans' first league game because of his poor Spanish and never recovered from that.

Rustu had recovered from injury, but coach Frank Rijkaard opted for Victor Valdes instead and the Turk complained to the media that a player of his reputation deserved to be in the team.

But while Valdes went on to become probably the greatest goalkeeper in Barca's history, Rustu made just seven appearances before moving back to Fenerbahce.

ALEX SONG | From Arsenal | €19m | 2012

Alex Song Barcelona signing

In the summer of 2012, Barcelona were looking for a player who could operate as a defensive midfielder and also as a centre-back. And after baulking at the €40m asking price of Athletic Club's Javi Martinez, they signed Alex Song from Arsenal.

However, a disastrous display by the Cameroonian in defence proved he would not be very useful in that position and he did not seem suited to Barca's playing style in midfield either as some of their worst performances came when he was in the team.

He then embarrassed himself in Barca's title celebrations by stepping forward to claim the Liga trophy from captain Carles Puyol when the Catalan had been beckoning Eric Abidal instead. After two seasons, Song left to join West Ham.

RICHARD WITSCHGE | From Ajax | €2.1m | 1991

Richard Witschge, Barcelona

Article continues below

Signed by compatriot Johan Cruyff in 1991, Richard Witschge was a promising Dutch midfielder who had excelled at Ajax and already appeared for the Netherlands national team.

However, he failed to make much of an impact at Barcelona and scored only two goals in his two seasons with the Catalan club before moving to Bordeaux in 1993.

He later returned to Ajax and finished his career in Japan after appearing 31 times for his country.