Saturday, August 13, 2016

Barcelona Greatest All-Time team

1992 Dream Team

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

BasqueCataloniaCastile.
Real MadridBarcelonaValencia,
Atletico MadridSevillaAtletic Bilbao, 
Deportivo La Coruna  Real Sociedad,

Real BetisReal ZaragozaEspanyol

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Despite of being one of the best Spanish sides domestically, Barcelona's record in Europe was overshadowed by their rival Real MadridThey did not win their first European Cup until 1992 when Johan Cruyff's Dream Team beat Sampdoria in the Final.  For a club with such a long and successful record, the victory was long overdue. However, in the 21st Century, Barcelona's luck changed.  They had won four, more titles.

The Team
GK: Andoni Zubizarreta (Spain)
Zubizarreta represented La Roja in 4 World Cup Finals. He was at one point Spain's cap record holder.  He started with Athletic Bilboa.  He also played for Barcelona and Valencia.  He won Barcelona's first ever Champions' League in 1992.  After the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, where Barça lost 0–4 to A.C. Milan in the final, Zubizarreta was deemed surplus to requirements

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: Victor Valdes (Spain)
Victor Valdes spent most of his career with Barcelona. With them, he won three Champions' league title.  He also had a unsuccessful stint with Manchester United. For the national team, he only managed 20 caps due to playing behind Iker Casillas during the prime of his career. He was part of the Spanish squads that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, despite not playing in either tournament.

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. 

RB: Dani Alves (Brazil)
Dani Alves spent 6 years with Sevilla, winning two UEFA Cup's before joining Barcelona.  He only played 109 times for Brazil at the time of writing, largely because Maicon was the regular starter during his early career.  In 2016, he joined Juventus, where he played a single season.   He appeared in his fourth Champions League final as Juventus were defeated 4–1 by Real Madrid. In 2017, he joined PSG.

CB:  Ronald Koeman  (Holland)
Ronald Koeman was the rock solid sweeper of Holland's Euro1988 team.  He was capped 78 times. He also won two European Cups, one each for PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona FC.  He scored the winning goal for Barcelona's victory in 1992. The Cup was Barcelona FC's first ever European Cup.  In Holland, he played for all of the "big three" clubs, namely Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.

CB: Migueli (Spain)
Migueli started his career with Cadiz.  In 1973, he joined Barcelona, winning the 1979 Cup Winners Cup. Known for his physical power, he was nicknamed Tarzan.  He had 32 caps for Spain.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1978 as well as Euro1980 held in Italy.

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 earned 100 caps for Spain, winning the World Cup in 2014 and the European Championship in 2008.
Carlos Puyol 
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. 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)
Olivella was capped 18 times for Spain, but better remembered for being the captain of Spain that won the European Championship in 1964. He was unused sub at the World Cup Finals in 1966. For club football, he played his entire career with Barcelona. He also won Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

LB: Sergi Barjuan (Spain)
Sergio was promoted to Barcelona's first time in 1993. He helped them to win the Cup Winners' Cup in 1997.  He later played for Atletico Madrid before retiring in 2005. He was capped 56 times for the Spanish national team. He went to two World Cup Finals and two European Championships.

DM: Pep Guardiola (Spain)
Pep 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.

CM: Johan Neeskens (Holland)
Johan Neeskens was considered to be one of the greatest Dutch midfielders. He had 49 caps for Holland.  Her led Holland to two second place finishes at the World Cup Finals in 1974 and 1978.  He was Holland's top scorer at the 1974 World Cup Finals.  He also won three straight European Cups with Ajax: 1971, 1972, 1973. He also played with Barcelona FC and New York Cosmos.

CM: Josep Samitier (Spain)
Smatter played for Barcelona between 1919 and 1932. He is the club's all time third top goalscorer.  He joined Real Madrid in 1932 and then, Nice in France.  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.  He had 133 caps and was a part of the team that won the  2010 World Cup and two European Championship in between.

CM:  Luis Suarez Miramontes (Spain)
Considered to be Spain's greatest player until 1970's, Luis Suarez won Ballon d'Or in 1960.  In 1964, he led La Roja in winning the European Championship.  For club football,  he played as a midfielder for Deportivo de La Coruña, CD España Industrial, FC Barcelona, Inter Milan and Sampdoria. He was a member of "Grande Inter" and won two consecutive European Cups.
Luis Suarez Miramontes is the real Luis Suarez.
LM/CM/AM:  Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Iniesta scored the WC winning goal in 2010 that gave Spain its first ever WC title. At Euro 2012, Iniesta led Spain to their second consecutive continental crown, again being chosen as the Man of the Match of the final against Italy, and was named the Player of the Tournament. He also won Champion' league trophies with Barcelona.

AM/FW: Rivaldo (Brazil)
Rivaldo was a part of the attacking trio known as "Three R's" with Ronaldo and Ronaldinho at the 2002 World Cup Finals.  He scored 5 goals in 5 games as Brazil took its 5th World Cup. He also went to the WC Finals in 1998. He won the 1999 Ballon d' Or. He played for many clubs in his career.  He spent five years with Spanish club Barcelona,

LM: Ronaldinho (Brazil)
He was a member of tyhe "Three R's" with Rivaldo and Ronaldo that helped Brazil winning the WC in 2002.  He started his career with Gemio before moving to Europe. He played with Paris St Germaine and Barcelona before his form started to drop. He formed the REM line with Etoo and Messi before fighting among them destroyed the team. 

FW: Johan Cruyff (Holland)
Johan Cruyff won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974.  He was considered one of the best players in history.  He was noted for his brilliant performance at the World Cup in 1974 and winning three straight European Cups with Ajax.  He moved to Barcelona in 1973 for a world record transfer fees. 
Cruyff
FW: Laszlo Kubala (Slovakia/Hungary)
Born in Hungary of a multi-cultural background.  He was known as one of the greatest Barcelona players ever.  He still managed to win 4 Li Liga titles in the 1950's in an era dominated by Real Madrid.  He also played for Ferencvárosi, Slovan Bratislava, Barcelona, and Espanyol.  Internationally, he has played for Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Spain.
Kubala
RW/FW:  Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child. At age 13, he relocated to Spain to join Barcelona. At time of writing, he won 4 World Player of the Year and 5 Ballon d'Or.  In 2016, he was convicted for 21 months in jail for tax fraud, but avoided jail timeDespite his tax evasion conviction and fraud with his charities, he is considered a clean-cut player. He is one of the few convicted footballers active in the game.
Leo Messi
ST: Romario (Brazil)
Romario helped the Seleção to win the 1994 FIFA World Cup, receiving the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year the same year. He missed the 1998 WC Finals because of an injury. One of very few strikers to surpass the mark of 1,000 goals. He was best remembered for his stint with Barcelona.

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/FW: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
Hristo Stoichkov is Bulgaria's greatest player. At the 1994 World Cup, Stoichkov was awarded the Golden Boot as the joint top goal scorer of the tournament with six goals, as well as earning the Bronze Ball award. Bulgaria reached the semifinal before losing to Italy. At Barcelona, he was part of Johan Cruyff's "dream team" that won four consecutive La Liga titles and one UEFA Champions League.  He also won the Ballon d'Or in 1994.
Stoichkov
Honorable Mention
Samuel Eto'o, Luis Figo, Diego Maradona, Bernd Schuster, Sandor Kocsis, Sergio Busquets, Carlos Rexach, Estanislau Basora, Evaristo, Luis Enrique, Jose Mari Bakero, Michael Laudrup, Neymar, Cesar Rodriguez, Txiki, Guillermo Amor, Gerard Pique, Ronaldo.

Squad Explanation
-- This team has too many central midfielders and attacking midfielders, but lacked players who could play wide.  I should have taken Rexach or Basora for a more balanced side.  Luis Figo was the best winger ever wore the Barcelona shirt, but he would be too controversial to be selected here.  Figo was never a serious consideration because of his "deflection".  I also could not find space for Michael Laudrup.  Both players left for Real Madrid.
-- Ronaldo scored 34 goals in 37 games for his only season with Barcelona.  No one in Barcelona's history had a better season than he did in 1996-1997.  However, he only played one season with Barcelona. Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Cruyff, Romario, Stoichkov and Alcantara have sweated far more for the club. His stint with Real Madrid was not a factor for not taking him. Both Neymar and Samuel Eto'o are ahead of Ronaldo, but they also could not get into the team because of those players. Neymar's move to PSG finished his chance.  He did not do enough as compared to the others.  If he stayed and waited fpr his chance, he might have gotten his credentials, but it would not happen now.
-- Paulino Alcántara is on the "bubble".  I have to keep him because Ronaldo, Neymar and Luis Figo left the club before building a great career here. Based on his numbers, he is still ahead Samuel Eto'o and Sandor Kocsis.  Eto'o and Kocsis were the last two players dropped.
-- I really could not decide between Diego Maradona and Rivaldo. In the end, I took Rivaldo who won the Ballon d'or while playing for Barcelona.  Maradona's career was defined while playing for Napoli and Boca Juniors.  He did not do enough for Barcelona. The rest of the attackers were all icons for Barcelona.
-- I selected Luis Suarez Miramontes of Spain, not Luis Suarez Diaz of Uruguay and the "MSN" line. Luis Suarez Diaz has amazing stats at the time of writing, but it would be difficult for him to break into this team in the future.
-- Gerard Pique has regressed since his first return to the club, but his career has not finished yet.  His status with the club remains to be seen. In time, he might be added to the team.
-- Sergio Busquets was considered, but I already took six central/defensive midfielders, namely Guadiola, Josep Samitier, Neeskens, Xavi, Luis Suarez Miramontes and Iniesta.  Busquets has the best, defensive quality, but I won't drop any of the six for him. I could not even put wingers on the team.

Formation 
Since it is Barcelona, the team must play tiki taka.  The formation is a combination of various Barcelona's team.  The front three was liked the REM generation, where Ronaldinho and Messi played om each side.  Kubala took on the role of Samuel Eto'o.  Johan Cruyff would have a freer role.  The backfield was from the modern team.  Guadiola must adopt Mascherano's position.



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