Barcelona has a long and illustrious history. The Blaugrana began in the nineteenth century, laying the groundwork for attracting the best players from around the world to play for them. While their century-long history is full of captivating moments and thrilling victories, the 21st century has been Barcelona’s most exciting era.
The Blaugrana have had their fair share of record-breaking wins and trophies, led by current manager Xavi Hernandez and legends Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi. Barcelona has won numerous major trophies over the last two decades, including ten La Liga titles and four Champions League titles.
Barcelona’s famed academy, La Masia, has been critical to the club’s enormous success. Young players like Messi have risen to become key members of one of the world’s best club teams. The Farmhouse is not the only source of Barcelona’s era of dominance in Spain and Europe.
Since the turn of the century, the Blaugrana have had varying degrees of success in the transfer market. Many of those players have contributed to the club’s growth both on and off the field. While some of Barcelona’s signings have been duds, such as Philippe Coutinho, others have been brilliant and influential.
So, without further ado, here are five such signings in the twenty-first century that have had a significant impact on Barcelona’s success and pedigree:
Number 5: Gerard Pique
Barcelona had to sign Gerard Pique from Manchester United despite being a La Masia graduate. He had left to pursue other opportunities, which led to a four-year stint at Old Trafford. Barcelona, on the other hand, signed the Champions League winner for €5 million in 2008.
It has proven to be one of Barcelona’s best business deals in recent memory. Pique has been a rock in the club’s defense for over a decade.
Pique has won over 25 trophies for Barcelona alongside his star teammates; he is also a World Cup and European Championship winner for Spain. He may be old and unable to perform as well as he once did. However, his defensive partnership with Carles Puyol, another Barcelona legend, will live on in the hearts of Blaugranes fans.
Number 4: Ronaldinho
When PSG sold Ronaldinho to Barcelona for €30 million in 2003, some questioned whether he was worth the price. However, in his first season, the star demonstrated his flair, exciting dribbles, and brilliant style of play.
Even though he was only at Barcelona for six years, it didn’t take long for the Blaugranes to fall in love with the legend.
Ronaldinho led the Blaugrana to back-to-back La Liga titles, as well as the Champions League, which he won with a classic toe-poke goal against Chelsea. Ronaldinho joined AC Milan in 2008, but he remains one of Barcelona’s best signings.
Number 3: Samuel Eto’o
Samuel Eto’o, a Barcelona legend, began his career with Real Madrid. However, a lack of first-team opportunities drove him to Mallorca, where he piqued the interest of Barcelona. Eto’o moved to Barcelona in the early 2000s for a fee of €24 million, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Eto’o scored 130 goals in 199 appearances for the Blaugrana across all competitions. He was a master of big games, leading Barcelona to Champions League victories in 2006 and 2009.
Although he later moved to Inter Milan, he had a huge impact at Barcelona, where he won seven trophies.
Number 2: Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez made an unceremonious exit from Camp Nou, leaving many Blaugranes with a bad taste. Barcelona splashed €81 million to bring Suarez to Spain after his stellar performances for Liverpool in the Premier League.
It was a brilliant purchase that resulted in one of the most clinical and lethal attacking trios in history – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar. Suarez scored 195 goals in 283 appearances for Barcelona, helping them win a slew of trophies, including a continental treble.
Number 1: Neymar
Neymar left Barcelona in 2017 in a world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. However, he is still regarded as one of the best signings in the club’s history.
In the final third, his partnership with Messi and Suarez propelled them to unprecedented success. Before leaving for PSG, Neymar helped the team win a continental treble and a domestic double.
Before the Blaugrana came calling in the early 2010s, the star had made his name with Santos. With the Blaugrana, Neymar added to his trophy cabinet. Lionel Messi has joined him in Paris, and the duo will be hoping to replicate their Barcelona heroics.