FC Barcelona are among the most popular football clubs ever. Today, they are known for their beautiful, passing football and have the largest social media following of any football club. Across their illustrious history, Barcelona have won a record 109 Spanish titles, including 24 La Liga titles, and a record 20 International titles which includes 5 Champions League trophies.
Over the years, FC Barcelona have boasted some of the greatest teams of all time. And some of the greatest names in football have put on the famous Blaugrana shirt. So an all-time XI from this club is an undeniably mouth-watering prospect.
No other formation is even going to be considered here. 4-3-3 is the formation employing which Barca have had their most success, and it perfectly accommodates their signature fluid passing game.
The Contenders : Antoni Ramallets, Andoni Zubizarreta, Victor Valdes
We have 3 of the most successful goalkeepers in the history of Spanish football fighting for this spot. Ramallets and Valdes have both won 5 Zamora trophies, a record which they share. Zubizarreta won it once. The 3 of them very effectively represent 3 different eras in Barca’s history.
GK : Andoni Zubizarreta
Zubizarreta is one of the greatest goalkeepers in Spanish footballing history and arguably the greatest Barca have ever had. He was an immense figure in goal for the famous ‘Dream Team’ and his performance in the 1992 Wembley final will always have a special place in the hearts of Barca fans. He was also capped 126 times with Spain and played at 4 World Cups and 2 European Championships
The Back 4
The Contenders : Joan Segarra, Migueli, Ronald Koeman, Sergi Barjuan, Carles Puyol, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique.
A host of cult heroes are competing for these 4 spots. Puyol and Pique formed arguably the most successful centre back pairing ever for FC Barcelona during the most successful period in the club’s history. Ronald Koeman’s contributions for Cruyff’s Dream Team are part of Barcelona folklore. Like Puyol in the 2000s and early 2010s, Segarra was an iconic defender and captain for the team in the 50s and early 60s. Migueli was a rock at the back for much of the 70s and 80s, and is one of the most capped players in the club’s history with 664 appearances for the Blaugrana. Meanwhile, Sergi and Dani Alves epitomize the attacking full back role, something which has gradually become a part of Barca’s identity.
LB : Sergi Barjuan
Sergi was a symbol for the Barca youth academy, becoming one of it’s earliest and most successful graduates. He was a pacy left back who always carried a threat down the left flank. The energy he showed bombing up and down the left flank would eventually become a trademark for modern La Masia full backs like Jordi Alba.
CB : Ronald Koeman
When you’re playing in the back line at Barca, you can’t just be a destroyer. You need to be good on the ball as well. Well, Ronald Koeman took that to a whole new level. He scored an incredible 106 goals in his 6 seasons at the club, and was the top scorer of the 93-94 Champions League. He had a ferocious shot from a distance, and hammered the fastest shot ever recorded at 188 km/h. He is regarded as one of the greatest set piece specialists ever and scored the winner in extra time for Barca in the 1992 Wembley final. He also holds the La Liga record for most consecutive successful penalties taken. He often started attacks from the back through his exceptional range of passing. And through it all, he was a solid and imposing defender, which was his primary role in the team.
CB : Carles Puyol
Let’s be blunt about this – Carles Puyol is the greatest defender in FC Barcelona history. For 15 seasons, he embodied the heart and soul of Barca. He was a leader both on and off the pitch, and won 3 Champions League titles as club captain. He was an incredible competitor who never gave an inch and was frequently the most vocal person on the pitch. He had an incredible positioning sense, great tackling ability, and despite not being as tall as some of his opponents, almost always came out on top in aerial duels.
True to the Barca style, this fantasy team will also be playing an aggressive game with full backs bombing up the pitch. And should an opposing striker break through and find himself bearing down on goal, Puyi is very much the guy we want rushing in to make that last ditch sliding tackle.
RB : Dani Alves
Barcelona bought Dani Alves from Sevilla in 2008, and soon became an indispensable member of the team. With his tremendous pace, industry and work rate, he was widely regarded as the best right back in the world at his best. In combination with Leo Messi, he formed the most deadly right flank in world football. In his 8 seasons with the club, Alves won 3 Champions Leagues, 6 La Ligas and a host of other titles. He was also a part of 2 treble winning sides and the side that won the unprecedented sextuple.
The Heart of Midfield
The Contenders : Johann Cruyff, Bernd Schuster, Diego Maradona, Michael Laudrup, Josep Guardiola, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets
It’s no surprise that some of the greatest midfielders the game has ever seen are vying for the 3 midfield spots. Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets are all La Masia graduates and played together for several seasons, forming arguably the greatest midfield in football history. Guardiola was another youth team product and like Xavi in the 2000s, he was the man pulling the strings from midfield throughout the 90s. Laudrup was the artist of the Dream Team and has won several plaudits for his magnificent contributions with Barcelona. Schuster was the constant in midfield for much of the 80s. Of course, Johann Cruyff and Diego Maradona are 2 of the greatest footballers ever. But while the former went on to become one of the most important figures in FC Barcelona history, the latter spent only 2 tumultuous seasons at the club, consisting of 3 trophies, 45 goals, a fair share of off-field controversies and intermittent moments of pure genius.
CM : Xavi Hernandez
Pulling the strings from the center of midfield for this all time XI is Xavi Hernandez. And honestly, we would rather not have any other player across football history performing this role. Xavi was the ultimate personification of the famed Barca tiki-taka style of football. He came up through the youth ranks, and became one of the most passionate and vocal exponents of the Barca philosophy. He had an uncanny ability to create time and space, and pick out the best possible pass. At his best, he regularly racked up over 100 passes in games. With 767 appearances for the Cules, he is the most capped player in Barcelona history, and also won 25 major titles with the club.
LCM : Andres Iniesta
Like Xavi, Iniesta is another magnificent midfielder who just has to feature in an all time Barcelona XI. He is a magician with the ball at his feet, with incredible vision and range of passing. With his silky dribbling skills, he could work his way out of even the tightest of spaces. The Xavi-Iniesta pairing is arguably the most famous midfield duo in football history, and together they’ve won all that there is to win for both club and country. Another youth team product, Iniesta has spent all his career so far at FC Barcelona. Despite that, he has become one of the most loved footballers across Spain, even getting regular applause at bitter city rivals, Espanyol. Iniesta debuted for the first team in the 2002-03 season and has since then racked up 30 trophies with the club. He’s a player who doesn’t score many goals, but he’s sure scored some important ones for both club and country.
RCM : Johann Cruyff
The Dutch legend is regarded among the greatest footballers ever. And few players have contributed as much to a single club as Johann Cruyff has to FC Barcelona. Of course, that also includes his tremendous contributions as coach, where he helped mould Barca’s present day identity. But right now, we’re only interested in his worth as a player. He is a 3 time Ballon d’Or winner and he won 2 of those during his time at FC Barcelona. In his very first season, he helped the club to its first league title in 14 years. Barca fans would always have many great memories of Cruyff, including the famous goal he scored against Atletico at the Camp Nou and the famous 0-5 victory over Madrid at the Bernabeu in 1974. Cruyff was an incredibly cerebral and versatile player who could play all across the pitch. In this dream team, he would be occupying the right hand side of midfield, and would provide some extra attacking thrust and goal threat from midfield.
The Front 3
The Contenders : Ladislao Kubala, Hristo Stoichkov, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi
Once again there’s a lot of great names vying for 3 spots. In fact, a lot of great names aren’t even being considered as contenders here. Kubala was a goal scoring machine for the Barca side in the 50s. Stoichkov was one of the mainstays of the Dream Team and is one of few Barca players to have won the European Cup, the Golden Boot and the Ballon d’Or. Rivaldo and Ronaldinho were two Brazilians who brought their fair share of joy and magical moments to Barcelona. Samuel Eto’o scored over 150 goals for Barca in 5 seasons, and was La Liga top scorer in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. And having scored Barca’s opening goals in the Champions League finals in both Paris and Rome, he is a major candidate for the Center Forward position.
LW : Ronaldinho
Many credit Ronaldinho as being the catalyst to kickstart the modern golden age of Barca. Indeed it is hard to argue with that. Ronaldinho enjoyed the best years of his footballing career at Barcelona and Barca fans are sure glad he did.
He will forever be remembered for all the flair, the tricks and skills, the pace, the goals and the assists, all delivered with that infectious smile on his face. But most importantly, he helped the club once again win big titles, including 2 consecutive La Ligas and the 2006 Champions League. At his best, he was undeniably the most deadly player on the planet, and won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2004 and 2005
RW : Lionel Messi
Is he the greatest player of all time? A large number of his teammates and coaches respond to that with a very emphatic yes! Lionel Messi has undoubtedly been the talisman of modern day Barca. Invariably part of a team full of superstars, Barca’s all-time leading goal scorer has somehow always managed to stand out among the rest.
The Argentinian is probably the greatest dribbler the world has ever seen, and has his fair share of goals where he’s picked up the ball near the halfway line and dribbled past pretty much the entire opposition defence. He’s done this against Real Madrid in the 2011 Champions League semi final, and the 2015 Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao. He’s the top goal scorer in La Liga history and the second highest in Champions League history. He scored a record mammoth 91 goals in 2012 in all competitions. In addition, he also creates more chances than anyone else, holding the record for most assists in La Liga history. And in case you need someone to score from free kicks, Messi also holds the record for most free kicks scored in La Liga. And as the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and several others can attest, he saves his very best for the biggest matches against the biggest teams! Barca are fortunate to have him, and we are glad to have him playing for us in this all-time Barca XI.
CF : Ladislao Kubala
The man whose statue resides outside the Camp Nou starts as the central striker for this XI. Kubala was an incredibly prolific striker for Barca in the 1950s, and scored 280 goals for the club in 345 appearances. Kubala displayed his skills in the central role, where his style of play also highlighted his phenomenal physique, technical ability, extraordinary vision of play and the fact he was a free kick maestro and a leader on the pitch. In 1993 there was an emotional homage paid to Kubala in the stadium in Montjuïc. He died in Barcelona on the 17 May 2002. In 2003 he was given the gold medal of merit in recognition of his contribution to the club.
Captain : Carles Puyol
Manager : Josep Guardiola
Johann Cruyff is a very serious contender for the title of Barca’s greatest manager. He was the man truly responsible for introducing the style of play that Barca are today so famous for. However, the fact that he is part of the starting XI makes us go with Guardiola for the managerial spot. Pep is of course another prime contender for the aforementioned title, and the manager of the most successful Barca team ever. However, since he’s not a member of the starting XI, he gets the nod as manager. This does not stop us from considering him as a substitute though.
So that rounds up a team that would give any opposition nightmares. Do you agree with our team? Who would you rather have in your All Time Greatest XI of FC Barcelona? Let us know in the comments below.