This is the most updated list of the top 10 greatest players In Barcelona’s history. FC Barcelona’s remarkable success over the years owes much to the brilliance of these wonderful players. These players have been the driving force behind the team’s victories, both on the domestic and international levels.
From their first cup victory in 1902, when they won the Copa Macaya, these players have been crucial in shaping Barcelona’s history to becoming one of the most successful football clubs in the world.
They’ve won the La Liga 27 times, clinched the Copa del Rey 31 times, and secured 14 Supercopa de España titles. Plus five UEFA Champions League titles and three FIFA Club World Cup crowns.
No doubt, Barcelona’s incredible history is tied to the fantastic players on my list. However, here are the top 10 greatest Barcelona of all time:
- Lionel Messi
- Johan Cruyff
- Hristo Stoichkov
- Ronald Koeman
- Carles Puyol
- Andres Iniesta
- Xavi Hernandez
Let’s have fun.
1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi left his home in Argentina when he was just 13 to join Barcelona in Spain, and at 17, he started playing for Barcelona professionally.
Within a few years, Messi became an integral part of the Barcelona squad. In the 2008-09 season, when he was 22, he helped Barcelona win everything they could, winning his first Ballon d’Or award.
Messi’s skills were so amazing that he won the Ballon d’Or four times in a row. During the 2011-12 season, he scored more goals in a single season than anyone else in La Liga history and became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer.
Even when he had tough competition from Cristiano Ronaldo, another great player, Messi showed how good he was during the 2014-15 season.
He became the all-time top scorer in La Liga and helped Barcelona win everything again. In 2018, Messi became the captain of Barcelona, and he kept being awesome, and he won a record sixth Ballon d’Or in 2019. Messi stayed with Barcelona his entire career until 2021, winning 35 trophies along the way.
2. Johan Cruyff
If you ask me, Johan Cruyff left a great impact on Barcelona. In 1973, Barcelona paid a world-record fee of about $2 million to bring Cruyff from Ajax.
Cruyff quickly became the fan’s favorite, he even named his son Jordi, a Catalan name, telling how much he loved the club and its culture.
In one memorable match when Barcelona faced their arch-rivals, Real Madrid, Cruyff led them to a historic 5-0 victory at Real Madrid’s stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu.
A New York Times journalist said that Cruyff did more for the spirit of the Catalan people in 90 minutes than many politicians did in years.
He made Barcelona feel invincible, his speed, flexibility, and style gave the team a new sense of confidence. In 1974, he was crowned the best footballer in Europe. People still talk about it today as Cruyff’s impossible goal against Atlético Madrid.
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Ronaldinho becoming one of the greatest Barcelona players of all time is extraordinary. Though he kicked off his career with Grêmio in 1998, it was in 2003, at the age of 20, that he made a big move to Paris Saint-Germain in France.
However, it was his transfer to Barcelona that defined his legacy. In his second season with Barcelona, Ronaldinho won his first FIFA World Player of the Year award and also helped Barcelona snatch the 2004-05 La Liga title.
The following season, 2005-06, was the highlight of his career. He was crucial in Barcelona’s triumphant return to the UEFA Champions League, a title they hadn’t won in fourteen years.
Add another La Liga title to that, and you’ve got Ronaldinho’s first-ever career double. He was then rewarded with the 2005 Ballon d’Or and his second FIFA World Player of the Year award.
One special moment that fans still talk about was In the 2005-06 El Clásico, Ronaldinho scored two solo goals that were so incredible even Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabéu gave him a standing ovation.
Unfortunately, things took a bit of a downturn after Barcelona finished second to Real Madrid in the 2006-07 season, and he had an injury-plagued 2007-08 season.
Some said it was because he had already achieved so much and lost some of his dedication. Eventually, Ronaldinho left Barcelona to join AC Milan, where he won the Serie A in the 2010-11 season.
Rivaldo is one of Brazil’s all-time greats and one of the most creative and skillful players during his playing days. He won the Ballon d’Or and was named FIFA World Player of the Year In 1999.
His path to fame at Barcelona began in 1997 when he joined the club in a transfer deal worth about $26 million. In his first season with Barcelona, Rivaldo scored 19 goals in 34 matches, helping Barcelona secure a historic La Liga and Copa del Rey double.
The following year, in 1999, he won another La Liga title with Barcelona, becoming the league’s second-highest scorer with 24 goals.
This achievement won him the FIFA World Player of the Year award and another Ballon d’Or. However, there was a time when Rivaldo’s future at Barcelona seemed uncertain.
After a less successful Champions League campaign, rumors stirred about him leaving. Even Manchester United’s captain at the time, Roy Keane, expressed a desire for Rivaldo to join the team.
But what truly made Rivaldo legendary were moments like his breathtaking hat-trick against Valencia in June 2001. In the last game of the season.
He scored three incredible goals, including a trademark bending free kick, a super strike, and a match-winning overhead bicycle kick that he regards as the best goal of his career.
The celebrations were wild, with fans going crazy, and even the club president joining in the jubilation. In his five-year spell at Barcelona, Rivaldo scored 130 goals, making him one of the club’s all-time top goalscorers.
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5. Hristo Stoichkov
Hristo Stoichkov was a Bulgarian football sensation who lit up Barcelona with his prowess. After five successful years with CSKA, Stoichkov leaped Barcelona, and In his first season with the club, he was served with a two-month suspension for an incident where he stomped on a referee’s foot.
Despite the setback, he displayed his scoring qualities, netting 14 goals in the league and 6 more in the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Stoichkov soon became an important part of manager Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team.”The club clinched the La Liga titles four years in a row between 1991 and 1994 and won the European Cup, defeating Sampdoria in the 1992 final.
He formed a dynamic partnership with Romário in attack, and there’s even a story that he made sure Romário attended training sessions on time, as the Brazilian forward had a penchant for late-night parties.
Stoichkov’s performances were spectacular, and he was twice named the runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1992 and 1994.
In 1994, he won the Ballon d’Or, following his outstanding leadership of Bulgaria’s national team to the 1994 World Cup semi-finals.
6. Ronald Koeman
In 1989, Koeman reunited with his former Ajax coach, the iconic Johan Cruyff, at Barcelona, and he became a vital member of the famed “Dream Team” alongside stars like Hristo Stoichkov, Romário, Pep Guardiola, and Michael Laudrup.
Koeman played a pivotal role in Barcelona’s dominance, helping them secure La Liga titles four years in a row from 1991 to 1994.
He scored the only goal with a stunning free-kick from the edge of the 18-yard box during the 1992 European Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
This historic goal made Barcelona the European champions for the first time. His notable achievement was being the first player to score in two consecutive finals of different European competitions.
He had previously scored Barcelona’s consolation goal in a 1–2 defeat against Manchester United in the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final.
Koeman had an incredible ability with free-kicks and dead balls, and one of his most memorable moments was a 5–0 victory over Real Madrid in 1994 when his bending free-kick found the net, making the score 2–0. Even during the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, Koeman was the joint-top scorer with eight goals.
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7. Carles Puyol
Carles Puyol was a defender of exceptional qualities, widely lauded as one of the greatest defenders and captains of all time.
Puyol’s journey with Barcelona began in the youth system at La Masia in 1995, initially as a defensive midfielder, before transitioning to the right-back position.
His career took an interesting turn when Barcelona accepted an offer from Málaga in 1998, but Puyol refused to leave after seeing his close friend Xavi make his first-team debut. However, his breakthrough to the first team came in 1999, under the management of Louis van Gaal.
Puyol made his La Liga debut on 2 October 1999 and eventually shifted to central defense, a position where he became one of the best.
One of his great moments was in the 2005-06 season when Barcelona clinched their second European Cup as he appeared in 52 games, including the UEFA Champions League, and played a key role in the club’s historic triumph.
Another incredible feat in his career was a 56-match unbeaten run for Barcelona, which only ended in 2012. However, after 15 years at Barcelona, Puyol announced his departure in 2014, having won 21 titles.
8. Andrés Iniesta
Iniesta’s career began at La Masia, and he made his debut for Barcelona’s first team at just 18 in 2002, but it was during the 2004–05 season that he truly started leaving his mark on the pitch.
For 16 years, Iniesta was the beating heart of Barcelona’s midfield. His elegant playmaking, vision, and dribbling skills are a class.
He was an indispensable part of the Barcelona squads that achieved historic trebles in 2009 and 2015. Iniesta’s trophy cabinet tells a story of outstanding success.
With 35 trophies including nine La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles. In 2018, after 22 years at Barcelona, Iniesta signed with J1 League club Vissel Kobe.
9. Xavi Hernández
Xavi Hernández is widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, a maestro in the art of passing, vision, ball retention, and positioning.
Throughout his illustrious career, Xavi gathered 32 trophies, establishing himself as the second-most decorated Spanish player in history, trailing only his former teammate Andrés Iniesta.
His honors include six appearances in the FIFA FIFPro World XI from 2008 to 2013 and five selections in the UEFA Team of the Year from 2008 to 2012.
In 2020, Xavi was named to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team, an all-time XI recognized by France Football. One of Xavi’s amazing records is his over 1,000 professional career appearances, a feat achieved by only a few players in the history of the game.
Xavi’s journey began at La Masia at the age of 11. His first-team debut came in August 1998 at the age of 18, and he went on to play 767 official matches for the club.
10. László Kubala
László Kubala is one of the greatest players in Barcelona’s history. Kubala’s first La Liga season in 1951–52 was spectacular, netting 26 goals in just 19 games.
Including seven goals against Sporting de Gijón, five against Celta de Vigo, and memorable hat-tricks against Sevilla and Racing de Santander.
His seven-goal blitz against Gijón is the most goals scored in a single match In La Liga history. This season saw Barcelona clinch an array of trophies, including La Liga, the Copa del Generalísimo, the Latin Cup, and the Copa Eva Duarte.
However, the 1952–53 season posed a challenge for Kubala, as he contracted tuberculosis, jeopardizing his career. During his time with Barcelona, Kubala scored 14 hat-tricks.
Despite his impressive run, Kubala fell out of favor with coach Helenio Herrera, resulting in his absence during the 1960 European Cup semi-final against Real Madrid, which Barcelona lost 6–2 on aggregate.
Herrera’s dismissal led to Kubala’s reinstatement, and in the 1961 European Cup, Barcelona became the first club to defeat Real Madrid in the competition. They won 4–3 on aggregate and reached the final, where they lost to Benfica 2–3.
Kubala briefly retired as a player in 1961, transitioning to a youth coach role at Barcelona before briefly taking charge of the senior team for the 1962–63 season.
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