Saturday, August 13, 2016

Barcelona Greatest All-Time team

1992 Dream Team

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

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)
Represented La Roja in 4 World Cup Finals. He was at one point Spain's cap record holder.  He won Barcelona's first ever Champions' League in 1992.

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 liga 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.

RB: Dani Alves (Brazil)
He spent 6 years with Sevilla, winning two UEFA Cup's before joining Barcelona.  He only played 79 times for Brazil at the time of writing, largely because Maicon is the regular starter during this time.

CB:  Ronald Koeman  (Holland)
Koeman was the rock solid sweeper of Holland 1988.  He was capped 78 times. He also won two European Cups, one each for PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona.  He scored the winning goal for Barcelona's victory in 1992. The Cup was Barcelona's first ever European Cup.  In Holland, he played for the big three, namely Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.

CB: Migueli (Spain)
He started his career with Cadiz.  In 1973, he joined Barcelona.  Known for his physical power, he was nicknamed Tarzan.  He went to the WC Finals in 1978.

CB: Carlos Puyol (Spain)
Carlos Puyol is the captain of Barcelona that dominated club football in recent years.  He won the WC in 2014 and the European Championship in 2008.
Carlos Puyol 
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 more 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: 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 was capped 56 times.

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.

CM: Johan Neeskens (Holland)
He was considered to be one of the greatest Dutch midfielders. He led Holland to two second place finish at the WC Finals in 1974 and 1978.  He was Holland's top scorer at the 1974 World Cup.  He also won three straight European Cups with Ajax. He also played with NY Cosmos.

CM: Josep Samitier (Spain)
Samiter was one of Spain's earliest icon in football.  He played for Barcelona between 1919 and 1932.  He went to Real Madrid in 1932, where he helped to win their first league championship.

AM./CM: Xavi (Spain)
Perhaps, one of greatest playmakers of his generation.  He won everything in football.  He has won more trophies than any other Spanish player in history.

CM:  Luis Suarez Miramontes (Spain)
Considered to be Spain's greatest player until 1970's.  He won Ballon d'Or in 1960.  In 1964, he led La Roja in winning the European Championship.  For club football, 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)
He scored the WC winning goal in 2010 that gave Spain its first ever WC title. He also won Champion尸' 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.  For his club career, he played for Barcelona.  He won the 1999 Ballon d' Or.

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)
He 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. 
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.
RW/FW:  Lionel Messi (Argentina)
At time of writing, he won 4 World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or.  Despite his Tax evasion conviction and fraud with his charities, he is considered a clean-cut player.
Leo Messi
ST: Romario (Brazil)
He 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)
He 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. . 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.
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.

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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