Friday, September 4, 2015

Catalonia Greatest All-time 23 member team

Catalonia is known for its 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.

My all-time 23 member team for Spain is here.   Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

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)
He was the starting keepers of Barcelona in the 1950's.  He played with Laszio Kubalal and Luis Suarez.  He won 6 La lira titles in an era that was known to be dominated by Alfred Di Stefano's Real Madrid.

GK: Victor Valdes (Spain)
Valdes spent most of his career with Barcelona. he won three Champions' league title.  For the national team, he only managed 20 caps due to playing behind Iker Casillas.

RB: Albert Ferrer (Spain)
Ferrer played mainly for Barcelona, but also for Chelsea. He was a member of Cruyff's Dream Team. 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. He won 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.  At the time of writing, he has been capped over 90 times.  His grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, is a former vice-president of Barcelona.

CB: Joan Segarra (Spain)
He was a part of the great Barcelona team of the 1950's.  They finally reached the 1961 European Cup Final, but losing to Benfica.  It would take Barcelona 31 years before winning the Cup.

CB: Ferran Olivella (Spain)
Olivella was capped 18 times for Spain, but better remembered for being the captain of Spain that won Euro 1964. He also won Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

LB: Joan Capdevilla (Spain)
Capedevilla started his career with Espanyol.  He later played for Atletico Madrid, Deportivo la Coruna, Villarreal and Benfica.  He was capped 60 times for Spain, in a period where Spain won the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 European Championship.
Joan Capdevilla 
LB: Sergi (Spain)
Sergio was promoted to Barcelona's first time in 1993. He helped them to win the Cup Winners' Cup in 1997.  He was capped 56 times.

DM: Sergio Busquets (Spain)
He did the dirty work in the midfield during Spain's glorious run at the WC in 2010.  For his club career, he played for Barcelona.  He is probably for his racist against Marcelo during an El Classico game.

DM: Pep Guardiola (Spain)
He won a Champions' League with Barcelona in 1992. 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.

DM: Marti Verges (Spain)
Verges was a part of Barcelona's great team of the 1950's.  He won three Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, coincidently in the same years that Real Madrid won the European Cup.  He was capped 12 times.

CM: Mariano Gonzalvo (Spain)
Gozalvo was a member of Barcelona's team in the 1950's, in an era before the emerge of Alfred Di Stefano's Real Madrid.  He won 5 league titles.  For the national team, he was capped 16 times.

CM: Gerald Lopez (Spain)
Lopez was a star for Valencia.  He helped them to reach the Champions' league Final in 2000 against Real Madrid, the first time where two clubs from the same country reaching the Final together.  After losing 3-0 to Real Madrid, he joined Barcelona, but injuries cut short his career with the club.

AM: Josep Samitier (Spain)
Smatter played for Barcelona between 1919 and 1932. During his playing career with FC Barcelona he scored 333 goals and currently is the club's all time third top goalscorer.  He joined Real Madrid in 1932 and then, Nice in France.  In 1920 together with Ricardo Zamora, Félix Sesúmaga, Pichichi and José María Belauste, 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)
Perhaps, Xavi is one of greatest playmakers of his generation.  He won everything in football, including the Champions' League, the World Cup and the European Championship. He has won more trophies than any other Spanish player in history.
RW: Estanislau Basora (Spain)
Basora was considered of the Barcelona's greatest players.  He was a member of Barcelona's team in the 1950's, in an era before the emerge Alfred Di Stefano's Real Madrid.   He was capped 22 times for Spain.

RW: Carles Rexach (Spain)
Known for his partnership with Johan Cruyff at Barcelona.  He won the Cup Winners' cup in 1979.  He was capped 15 times.

LW: Luis Garcia (Spain)
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 was capped 20 times for Spain.

AM/SS: Cesc Fabregas (Spain)

Cesc 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.  He was a part of Spain that won the WC in 2010 and two European Championships.

ST: Raul Tamudo (Spain)
Tamudo was a club legend with Espanyol.  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 picked up 13 caps for Spain.
Raul Tamudo 
ST/LW: Eduard Manchón (Spain)
Between 1950 and 1957 he 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. During his time with the club, he won La Liga twice, the Spanish Cup four times, the Copa Eva Duarte twice, and even the Latin Cup.

ST: Eric Cantona (France)
Cantona played for various clubs in France before moving to England in 1992 and became the star player of the league. He first joined Leeds United and was lured away to Manchester United. He is widely considered to be Manchester United's greatest player in the Premiership era.  For the national team, he was limited to 45 caps because of fightings with different coaches and suspension by the incident with a Crystal Palace fan. He was replaced by Zinedine Zidane at the national team.
Eric Cantona

Honorable Mention
José Parra Martínez, Albert Celades, Vicente Piera, Bojan Krkić, Albert Luque, Jordi Cruyff, René Llense, Josep Escolà, Ramón Calderé, Sergio García, Gabri, Jordi Alba.

Squad Explanation
-- Catalonia has used non-Catalonian guest players such as Johan Cruyff, Hristo Stoichkov, Alfredo Di Stéfano, etc.  However, I only selected Catalan players for this team.
-- At the time of writing, I still selected Sergi over Jordi Alba.
-- Jordi Cruyff's mother is from Catalonia.
-- I do not know the ethnic background of Paulino Alcántara (Spain/the Philippines).  He was all-time great with Barcelona.
-- Eric Cantona's mother is Catalonian. His grandfather fought in the Spanish Civil War.
-- 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.
-- Eric Cantona is only footballer who is on the team and never played for Spain. René Llense of France made honourable mention.

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