Sunday, January 20, 2019

Barcelona All-Time Team for Spanish Players

Albert Ferrer and Pep Gaurdolia

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Barcelona's Spanish Players.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.
Catalonia All-Time Team
Barcelona All-Time Team
Barcelona All-Time Team for Foreign Players
Spain without Real Madrid and Barcelona
Barcelona "La Masia" Academy Greatest All-Time team

Despite of being one of the best Spanish sides domestically, Barcelona 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.
Iniesta and Xavi

The Team
GK: Andoni Zubizarreta 
Andoni 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 
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.
Antoni Ramallets 
Xabi Alonso, Kroos, Modric
GK: Victor Valdes 
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 
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/RB: Carlos Puyol 
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.

CB: Ramón Alexanko 
Alexanko made his La Liga debut in 1976 with Athletic Bilbao. In 1980, Alexanko signed for FC Barcelona where he was the captain of the backbone of the legendary Dream Team. He was on the losing of the 1986 European Cup, but was played for 10 minutes in 1992 Final. , which won four consecutive league championships. From 1978 to 1982, he was capped 34 times for Spain. He was a part of Spain's team in Euro 1980 and World Cup 1982 Finals.
Ramón Alexanko 
CB: Migueli
Migueli started his career with Cadiz in 1970.  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 Euro 1980 held in Italy.

CB: Joan Segarra 
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 
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: Sergi Barjuan 
Sergi 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).

DM: Sergio Busquets
Known for his dirty style of play, Sergio Busquets was Spain's unsung hero at winning the 2010 World Cup and the Euro 2012 tournaments. He made his national team debut in 2009.  He has earned 111 caps at the time of writing. At the club lebel, he started his career in 2008 with Barcelona.  He has been an important member of the team ever since.  His father Charles played goalkeeper for Barcelona during the 1990's.
Sergio Busquets
DM: Pep Guardiola 
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.

CM/RM/UT: Luis Enrique
Luis Enrique started his career with Sporting Gijon in 1989.  From 1991 to 1996, he played for Real Madrid.  In 1996, he moved to Barcelona, where he played for 8 seasons. At the international level, Luis Enrique played for Spain in three World Cups: 1994, 1998 and 2002 as well as UEFA Euro 1996), and scored 12 goals while gaining 62 caps. He was also a member of the gold-winning squad at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

CM: Josep Samitier 
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.  
Josep Samitier 
AM./CM: Xavi 
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.

CM: Guillermo Amor
Amor was a product of FC Barcelona's youth ranks, and made his first-team debuts in the 1988–89 season. He was a part Johan Cruyff's Dream Team that the 1992 European Cup. Amor left Barça in 1998, whet he was among the leader in appearance for the club.  He then played for Fiorentina and Villarreal CF. At the international level, he earned 37 caps. He appeared in Euro 1996 and the 1998 World Cup Finals.

CM:  Luis Suarez Miramontes 
Luis Suarez Miramontes was 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
RW: Estanislau Basora 
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: Carlos Rexach 
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.  He won a combined eight titles both capacities combined, including the La Liga championship in the 1973–74 season and the 1979 Cup Winners' Cup.  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.
Carlos Rexach 
LW/FW: Txiki Begiristain
Toxic began his professional career with Real Sociedad in 1982 at the age of 18.  He became an essential member of the side that was coached by John Toshack. From 1988 and 1995, he played with Barcelona alongside fellow Basque José Mari Bakero, Andoni Zubizarreta, Julio Salinas and Ion Andoni Goikoetxea.  He was a member of the Dream Team. At the international level, he earned 22 caps between 1988 and 1994.

LM/CM/AM:  Andres Iniesta 
Andres Iniesta scored the World Cup winning goal in 2010 that gave Spain its first ever World Cup 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. He had over 130 caps for Spain from 2006 to 2018.

AM: José Mari Bakero
José Mari Bakero made his debut with Real Sociedad in 1980 when only 17. He was a part of the Basque sides which won back-to-back La Liga titles.  In 1988, Bakero signed for FC Barcelona.  He won the 1992 European Cup with the team known as the Dream Team. He earned 30 caps for Spain at the international level. He was a member of the Euro 1988 team as well as the World Cup team in both 1990 and 1994.
 José Mari Bakero
ST: Mariano Martín
Martín joined FC Barcelona in 1939, proceeding to become one of the club's most prolific scorers. During his nine seasons at the Camp Nou, he netted 128 times in only 150 matches, including 30 in 23 contests in his fourth season, although Barça finished in third place. Martín closed out his career in 1952, after playing for Gimnàstic de Tarragona, Real Zaragoza and UE Sant Andreu.  For Spain, he was capped 3 times.

ST:  Paulino Alcántara 
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: Cesar Rodriguez
During his career, Cesar played mainly for Barcelona, appearing in 351 official matches and scoring 232 goals, making him the highest goalscorer in the club's history until he was passed by Lionel Messi.  He won the Pichichi Trophy for the 1948–49 season. He won five La Liga championships with the team in a total of 13 major trophies.  At the international level, César had 12 caps. He represented Spain at the 1950 World Cup. 

Honorable Mention
Julio Salinas, Miguel Ángel Nadal, Agustín Sancho, Josep Valle, Pedro, Lobo Carrasco, Mariano Gonzalvo III, Quini, David Villa, Joaquim Rife, Gallego, Josep Fuste, Ricardo Zamora, Ramon Torralba, Cesc Fabregas, Ion Andoni Goikoetxea, Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique. 

Squad Explanation
-- Andoni Zubizarreta, Antoni Ramallets, Carlos Puyol, Victor Valdes, Albert Ferrer, Migueli, Joan Segarra, Ferran Olivella, Sergi Barjuan, Pep Guardiola, Samitier, Xavi, Luis Suarez Miramontes, Andres Iniesta and  Paulino Alcántara are on my all-time team for Barcelona.
-- Ramón Alexanko, Guillerimo Amor, Josep Escolà, Mariano Martín, Carlos Rexach, Estanislau Basora, Luis Enrique, Jose Mari Bakero, Sergio Busquets, Cesar Rodriguez and Txiki were not on the original all-time team.
-- Johan Cruyff as the manager led Barcelona to win the European Cup in 1992.  I selected the following players from the 1992 Dream Team members: Andoni Zubizarreta, Pep Guardiola, Albert Ferrer, Txiki Begiristain, Ramón Alexanko and Jose Mari Bakero.
-- Spain dominated club football from 2008 to 2012.  Players from the era selected for this team included Xavi, Andreas Iniesta, Carlos Puyol, Victor Valdes, and Segio Busquets,
-- Since all three goalkeepers were on the all-time team, I only added Ricardo Zamora to honourable mention.  He needed no introduction.  Actually, he is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers in Europe's history.  He should be on the team, but I rewarded three goalkeepers who had longer career here than Ricardo Zamora.  Furthermore, Zamora had issues with Barcelona's management.
-- Josep Samitier was a big star with Barcelona before heading to Real Madrid. He also made my Real Madrid All-Time for Spanish Players.  He is the only player to made both team.  
-- Most of the defenders are on the all-time team. Only one defender's spot is available(Ronald Koeman's position). Ramón Alexanko, Gerard Pique and fullback Jordi Alba are considered.  In the end, I took Alexanko because he was a part of the 1986 team as well as the captain of the Dream Team.  Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique might get their chance at the end of their career.
-- I selected Luis Suarez Miramontes of Spain, not Luis Suarez Diaz of Uruguay. Luis Suarez Miramontes was the first ever Barcelona player to win the ballon D'or.  He was probably the greatest Barcelona player until Johan Cruyff joined the club in 1973.
-- Fabregas was very famous due to his time with Arsenal and the Spanish national team.  For Barcelona, he only played three seasons.  He was not seriously considered by this team.
-- Joan Segarra was the captain of the Barca of the "Five Cups". 
-- I only took three strikers because I wanted to select Guillermo Amor.  He stood for many things about Barcelona. He was considered for the last spot. The other option was the striker, Josep Escolà. 
-- Not many Spanish attackers made the original all-time Barcelona team. Barcelona lacked good Spanish goal scorers. Josep Escolà and Mariano Martín are among the highest goal scorers for the team. I took Martin over Escola because he had a longer career. David Villa's career was short with Barcelona.  Pedro was a part of Barcelona's great teams in the 2010's, but he was mainly used as a sub in his career.  I only put him on honorable mention.
-- César was Barcelona's all-time leading scorer until Messi broke it.
-- I normally put naturalised players as foreign players if they had previously capped by his native national team.  Paulino Alcántara has played for the Philippines before he represented Spain. Normally, I would consider him to be a Filipino player, but he has also represented the Catalonian representative team before that.  Thus, he is not a naturalised Spanish players.


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