Friday, September 4, 2015

Catalonia Greatest All-time 23 member team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Catalonia is is an autonomous community of Spain, designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy.  Most of the territory (except the Val d'Aran), lies on the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, to the south of the Pyrenees mountain range. Catalonia consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city, Barcelona is the second-most populated municipality in Spain and the fifth-most populous urban area in the European Union.

The Catalonia national football team (Catalan: Selecció de futbol de Catalunya) is the official football team of Catalonia. It is organised by the Catalan Football Federation, founded in 1900. The team has been referred to by various names including Selecció Catalana, Selecció de Barcelona and the Catalan XI. Catalonia is not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA and is therefore not allowed to participate in either the FIFA World Cup or the European Championship. Other than in certain cases where other nationalities are involved, Catalan players are full Spanish citizens who are eligible to play for Spain.  Catalonia is known for its club football teams Barcelona and Espanyol

This is my selection of an all-time 23 member team for Catalan players. I excluded guest players who played for Catalan XI, but I included players from Catalan diaspora. 

My all-time teams:
SpainBarcelona Dutch Best XI
Barcelona All-Time Team for Spanish Players
Barcelona All-Time Team for Foreign Players
BasqueCataloniaCastile without Madrid playersMadrid CommunityAndalusiaValencian CommunityGalicia, Asturias

GK: Ricardo Zamora (Spain)
The first ever star goalkeeper in history.  He is also remembered for a spectacular last minute save he made in the 1936 Copa de España final while playing for Real Madrid against FC Barcelona. The award for the best goalkeeper in La Liga, the Ricardo Zamora Trophy, is named in his honour and he was voted one of the greatest players of the 20th century by World Soccer magazine. He was also Spain's most capped player for 45 years.

GK: Antoni Ramallets (Spain)
Antoni Ramallets was the starting keepers of Barcelona in the 1950's.  He played alongside with Laszio Kubalal and Luis Suarez.  He won 6 La liga titles in an era that was known to be dominated by Alfred Di Stefano's Real Madrid.  Ramallets played 35 games for Spain during 11 years, making his debut against Chile on 29 June 1950, during the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

GK: Hugo Lloris (France)
Hugo Lloris started his career with Nice.  He moved to Lyon in 2008 to replace Coupet. In 2012, he moved to Tottenham Hotspurs.  Tay the time of writing, he has over 80 caps for France.  He is a key player since the World Cup Finals in 2010, participating in every major tournaments.  He was the starting keeper for France at the Euro 2016 and the World Cup Finals in 2018.
Hugo Lorries
RB: Albert Ferrer (Spain)
Ferrer represented the nation in two World Cups and at the 1992 Olympic Games, winning the latter tournament. He was a part of Barcelona's Dream Team in the 1990's. He won a Champions' League with Barcelona in 1992. After Louis van Gaal took over, Barcelona gradually signed more Dutch players and his places were uncertain.  He left for Chelsea.

CB: Carlos Puyol (Spain)
As an one-club man, Carlos Puyol served as the long-time team captain for his only club Barcelona after taking over from Luis Enrique in August 2004, and went on to appear in 593 official games for the club and win 20 major titles, including  three Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11. He earned 100 caps for Spain, winning the World Cup in 2014 and the European Championship in 2008.
Carlos Puyol 
CB: Gerard Pique (Spain)
Pique started his career with Barcelona's academy, but left for Manchester Uniued. In England, he was seldom used by the team.  He returned to Spain in 2006 with Zaragoza.  He gradually became a good defender in La Liga.  From 2008 to 2022, he played for Barcelona where he won over 30 trophies. He has been capped 102 times.  He won the 2010 World Cup as well as Euro 2012. His grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, is a former vice-president of Barcelona.

CB: Joan Segarra (Spain)
Joan Segarra played for Barcelona from1949 to 1964.  He was a part of the great Barcelona team of the 1950's. He was the captain of the "Barça of the Five Trophies". They finally reached the 1961 European Cup Final, but losing to Benfica.  It would take Barcelona 31 more years before finally winning the Cup.  For the national team, he had 25 caps.

CB: Ferran Olivella (Spain)
Ferran Olivella was capped 18 times for Spain, but better remembered for being the captain of the Spanish national that won the European Championship in 1964. He was also an unused sub at the World Cup Finals in 1966. For club football, he played his entire career with Barcelona, winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup three times in the 1960's.

LB: Joan Capdevila (Spain)
At the club level, Joan Capedevila started his career with Espanyol in 1998.  He later played for Atletico Madrid, Deportivo la Coruna, Villarreal and Benfica.  The peak of his career was with Deportivo la Coruna and Villarreal. He was capped 60 times for Spain, in a period where Spain won the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 European Championship. He was their disputed starting leftback in that era. He was the only starting player in the 2010 Final who was not a member of Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Joan Capdevilla 

LB: Jordi Alba (Spain)
Alba started his career at Barcelona, but was released after being deemed too small. After joining Cornellà, he moved to Valencia. In 2012 he returned to Barcelona. At the time of writing, he has over 70 caps and was a member of the team that won the Euro 2012. He attended the 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals.

DM: Sergio Busquets (Spain)
Since 2009, Sergio Busquets had played over 100 times for Spain.  He was known for doing the "dirty work" in the midfield during Spain's glorious run at the World Cup in 2010.  For his club career, he played for Barcelona.  He is probably remembered for his racist against Marcelo during an El Classico game. His father was a goalkeeper who played for Barcelona FC.

DM: Pep Guardiola (Spain)
At the club level, Pep Guardiola won a Champions' League with Barcelona in 1992. It was Barcelona's first ever European Cup. He was their captain from 1997 to 2001.  He also played for Brescia and Roma in Italy, Al-Ahli in Qatar, and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico. He was capped 47 times for Spain, winning the Olympic Gold Medal in 1992, and later appeared at the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000. He also played friendly matches for Catalonia.

Pep Guardiola

CM: Mariano Gonzalvo (Spain)
Gozalvo was a member of Barcelona's team in the 1950's.  The team was known to be Spain's greatest club side before the emerge of Alfred Di Stefano's Real Madrid.  He won 5 league titles.  For the national team, he was capped 16 times.  Between 1947 and 1955 he also played three times for the Catalan XI. His first game was a 3-1 win against Spain on October 10, 1947.

AM: Josep Samitier (Spain)
Josep Samitier played for Barcelona between 1919 and 1932. He is the club's all time third top goalscorer.  He joined Real Madrid in 1932 from Barcelona FC and then played for Nice in France from 1936 to 1939.  In 1920, Samitier was also a member of the first ever Spanish national squad. The squad won the silver medal at the 1920 Olympic Games. He subsequently made 21 appearances and scored 2 goals for Spain.

AM./CM: Xavi (Spain)
Xavi was perhaps one of greatest playmakers of his generation.  He won everything in football.  Xavi has won 31 trophies, only surpassed by Andrés Iniesta as the most successful Spanish player in history.  For the national team, he had 133 caps and was a part of the team that won the  2010 World Cup and two European Championship in between.  He was named Euro 2008's player of the tournament. He was finished third at the Ballon d'Or in 2010 and 2011.
RW: Estanislau Basora (Spain)
Estanislau Basora was considered of the Barcelona's greatest players.  He was a member of Barcelona's team in the 1950's, the greatest Spanish club team before the emerge of Alfred Di Stefano's Real Madrid.   He was capped 22 times for Spain between 1949 and 1957. He went to the World Cup Final in 1950. He also represented Catalonia XI on several occasions.

RW: Carles Rexach (Spain)
From 1965 to 1980, Carlos Rexach played for Barcelona.  He won the Pichichi Trophy in 1971.  He also won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1979.  He was also known for his partnership with Johan Cruyff at Barcelona.  For the national team, he was capped 15 times. He went to the 1978 World Cup Finals in Argentina, but only appeared once in the Finals.

LW: Luis Garcia (Spain)
At the club level, Luis Garcia played for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before moving to Liverpool in 2004. He won the 2005 Champions' League under Rafael Benitez after going down 3-0 at half time against AC Milan. It was marked as one of the greatest comeback in history.  He played in Greece and Mexico. He was capped 20 times for Spain between 2005 and 2008. He went to the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany.

AM/SS: Cesc Fabregas (Spain)

Cesc Fabregas was lured to play for Arsenal's academy in 2003.  He made his first time debut as a teenager. he helped Arsenal to reach the Champions' league Final in 2005.  He retuned to Spain in 2011 with Barcelona, but returned to England in 2014 to play for Chelsea.  He was a part of Spain that won the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships.

ST: Raul Tamudo (Spain)
Raul Tamudo was a club legend with Espanyol, where he played from 1997 to 2010.  He captained the side for a decade.  He won two Copa Del Rey with the club as well as reaching the Final of UEFA cup in 2007. He is their all-time leading scorer.  He also played for Real Sociedad, Rayo Vallecano Mexico's C.F. Pachuca and Sabedell FC. He picked up 13 caps for Spain between 2000 and 2007. He was a member of their 2000 silver medal winning team at the Olympics.
Raul Tamudo 

ST/LW: Eduard Manchón (Spain)
Between 1950 and 1957,  Eduard Manchón scored 88 goals in 201 games for Barcelona, where he witnessed one of his most successful periods in his career. Together with László Kubala, César and Estanislau Basora, he formed one of the most dangerous front-lines in the club's history. He belonged to the legendary "Five Cups-Barça" side, which won all five possible trophies in 1952.

ST:  Paulino Alcántara (the Philippines/Spain)
Born in the Philippines of a half-Spanish, half-Filipino, he made his debut for Barcelona at the age of 15 and remains the youngest player to play or score for the club. He also scored 100 goals in 69 matches, making him the club's highest goalscorer He was selected for the Philippine national football team in 1917 and represented his country at the Far Eastern Championship Games.  In 1921. he was selected to play for Spain.  he scored 6 goals in 5 games for Spain.

ST: Eric Cantona (France)
Before joining Leeds United in 1992, Eric Cantona was known as the bad boy of French football.  He moved to England to restart his career.  In England, he became a huge star.  He won the league title with Leeds United and moved to Manchester United.  At Manchester United, he became one of their best ever players. For the national team, he was a part of the ill-fated national team that failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1994. 

Eric Cantona

Honorable Mention
José Parra Martínez, Albert Celades, Crisant Bosch, José Gonzalvo, Vicente Piera, Dani Garcia, Albert Luque, Justo Tejada, Jordi Cruyff, René Llense (France), Jose Vicente Train, Salvador Sadurní, Martí Vergés, Martí Ventolrà, Josep Escolà, Ramón Calderé, Sergio García, Gabri Garcia, Victor Valdes, Sergio, Daniel Solsona, Sergi, Josep Seguer, Gerald Lopez, Juan Vizcaíno, Marti Verges, Joaquín Navarro, Curta, Gerard Moreno, Fernando Navarro, José Parra, Agustín Sancho, Pedro Solé, Sígfrid Gràcia, Eladio Silvestre, Marc Bartra, Enric Gensana, Antonio Olmo, Marcelino Pérez, Toni Jiménez, Miquel Soler.

Squad Explanation
- I did a review of the team in November, 2021.  I discovered more players and expanded the "squad explanation" section.  I was also convinced that Paulino Alcántara was eligible.
-- Catalonia has used non-Catalan guest players such as Johan Cruyff, Hristo Stoichkov, Alfredo Di Stéfano, etc.  However, I only selected ethnic Catalan players for this team. No guest player is considered. 
-- It is hard to identify ethnic Catalan footballers.  I probably made mistakes here and there.  It is impossible to look deep into ancestry of every single footballers in the planet.  Catalonia became part of the Spain since King Ferdinand of Aragon married Queen Isabella of Castille in 1469.  I am sure that many Spanish and Latin American footballers have some Catalan ancestry in them after 550 years of being in the same country.  So I am selecting only the obvious ones.     
-- Lionel Messi supposedly has a Catalan great great grandfather.  I suspected that most Argentine or Latin American footballers have some specific blood ties to a certain region in Spain through a great grandparents, etc.  As mentioned above, Catalonia has been a part of Spain for 550 years.  Most of the population must have some blood from everywhere in Spain. Messi's Catalonia line went too far back. So I am leaving him out at this moment. 
-- Ricardo Zamora, Xavi, Carlos Puyol, Pep Guardiola and Albert Ferrer were on my All-Time Spain Team. They were undisputed choices for this team.
-- My policy on overseas ethnic players varies from team to team.  For this team, I am taking overseas Catalan player. I took them largely because of Eric Cantona who was outspoken about his connection to the region.  I felt he would be honored to be on this team.  
-- Five players here also won the World Cup for Spain in 2010. All of them started in the Final against Netherlands in South Africa.  They were Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Carlos Puyol, Cesc Fabregas and Joan Capedevila.  After the 2018 World Cup Finals, Hugo Lloris replaced Victor Valdes. He too won a World Cup.  There are a estimated of 430,000 Catalans living in France.
 -- For goalkeepers, Ricardo Zamora and Antoni Ramallets were undisputed choices.  Victor Valdes was close to that status, but Hugo Lloris replaced Victor Valdes after France winning the World Cup in 2018.  Although Valdes also won a World Cup, Lloris was the starting goalkeeper for France.  Jose Vicente won four consecutive La Liga titles and three Zamora trophies while playing for Real Madrid. Salvador Sadurní also won three Zamora trophies.  René Llense of France made honourable mention.
-- On the rightback position, Albert Ferrer was the main choice.  Joaquín Navarro was the first Spanish player to be selected to a World XI FIFA team, but I decided to take a single rightback. On the left, I took Joan Capedevila. In 2015 when I created this team, I selected Sergi Barjuán over Jordi Alba. During the review of the team in 2021, Alba got into the team ahead of Sergi.  He had since suppressed Sergi.  I also had Eladio Silvestre and Miquel Soler on honorable mention.  
-- Sergi Barjuán was the best player not selected for this team.  He was promoted to Barcelona's first time in 1993. He helped them to win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1997.  He moved to Atletico Madrid in 2002.  He played there until retiring in 2005. He was capped 56 times for the Spanish national team. He went to two World Cup Finals (1994 and 1998) and two European Championships (1996 and 2000).
-- Carlos Puyol, Gerrard Pique, Ferran Olivella and Joan Segarra were among Barcelona's greatest central defenders. The other candidates seemed unrealistic after the four of them.   Sígfrid Gràcia was largely a forgotten man.  He did have a long career with Barcelona FC and appeared in the 1962 World Cup Finals.  Antonio Olmo who played in the 1978 World Cup Finals was considered.  Injuries kept Enric Gensana from becoming great. He could have been a serious candidate.
-- Xavi, Josep Samitier, Pep Guardiola, Sergio Busquet and Cesc Fabregas took 5 of the midfield spots.  So not much space was left. Xavi is Catalonia's most capped player.  Cesc Fábregas is the highest goal scorer for the Spanish national team.
Cesc Fabregas
-- I took Mariano Gonzalvo (aka Gonzalvo III) over Marri Verges who was on my original team.  He was a better known player.  His brother José Gonzalvo made honorable mention.
-- Marti Verges was a part of Barcelona's great team of the 1950's.  He won three Inter-Cities Fairs Cup: 1955–58, 1958–60, 1965–66. He was capped 12 times between 1957 and 1962.  He was included in the 1962 World Cup squad fro Spain. 
-- Luis Suarez Miramontes and Andres Iniesta are not Catalans, despite being all-time greats with Barcelona FC.  They had played for the Catalonia national team as guest players. 
-- Gerald Lopez was a star for Valencia between 1997 and 2000, but injuries cut short his career with the club. His international career was limited a few caps in 2000. He only made honorable mention.
-- Sergei Milinkovuic-Savic was born in Lleida when his father played professional football there.  At the time of writing, I am undecided if he is eligible for this team. I have been looking at ethnic Catalan player for now.  Vicente Engonga was the first Spanish-born black player to play for the Spanish national team. He was born in Catalonia  of Equatorial Guinean descent, but not an ethnic Catalan. During his career, he also represented the unofficial Cantabria autonomous team.  Anyway, the midfield position as mentioned is very strong.  They won't be challenging the selected midfield players.  Ansu Fati was born in Guinea-Bissau, and spent his childhood in Andalusia.  Of course, his connection to Catalonia is strong, but he considered himself a "Sevillian".  So I also do not have to decide on this issue.
-- The right wing was very strong.  Estanislau Basora and Carles Rexach were two of the best wingers from Spain.  Vicente Piera a largely forgotten player made honorable mention. On the left, I took Luis Garcia.   Eduard Manchón (Spain) only received a single cap from Spain, but he played with a legendary Barcelona side. I also needed someone to play wide on the left.
-- I did not know the ethnic background of Paulino Alcántara (Spain/the Philippines) when I wrote the blog team in 2015.  According to Marca, he came to Barcelona as a 2 years old.   He was included in their Catalonia All-Time Best XI.  So I decided to follow Marca and went with him as a Catalan footballer.
-- Eric Cantona's mother is Catalan. His grandfather fought in the Spanish Civil War. He has been outspoken for the Catalan nationalism in recent years.
-- Raul Tamudo was a club legend with Espanyol.
-- Jordi Cruyff's mother is from Catalonia. So he is eligible. He made honourable mention.
-- Sergio Garcia has played more times for Catalonia than any player since 2002. He also scored more goals.  He aslo made honorable mention.  Albert Luque might be the most famous attacker not selected.  He would have gotten on the team if I decided not to select overseas Catalan players.  I would have dropped Eric Cantona for him.

Starting lineup


  1. Well done Lincoln Chan,
    But i miss some really good Catalan players;
    Josep Samitier (Great pre war Barca player),
    Vicenc Piera,(one of Barca`s best right winger
    Josep Escola, (Fine finisher in front of goal)
    José Parra,(Espanyol defender, named in the WC `50 team of the tournament)
    Eduard Manchón (left winger in the Barca Cinc Copes)
    Ramon Calderé, WC 86 left winger and scorer of two goals.
    Sergio Garcia, all time Catalunya top scorer

  2. Catalunya all time team after a poll;
    Olivella - Puyol - Piqué - Segarra
    Xavi - Guardiola - Samitier
    Basora - Tamudo - Manchón

  3. I iesta and Pique need to be here

  4. Others honorable mentions:
    René Llense (GK);
    Jean Castaneda (GK);
    José Vantolrá (RB);
    Antonello Cuccureddu (CB, born on Alghero);
    Daniel Bravo (DM);
    Adlène Guedioura (RCM);
    Iván de la Peña (CM);
    Andrés Iniesta (AM);
    Kevin Mirallas (WG);
    Jordi Cruyff (FW);
    Lionel Messi (FW);
    László Kubala (CF);
    Gérard Soler (ST)