10 Best Foreign Players to Play for Barcelona

Mikhail TurnerContributor IIIAugust 2, 2013

10 Best Foreign Players to Play for Barcelona

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    The 10 best foreign players to don Barcelona's famous shirt had a huge impact on the club's fortunes, and make for a list full of quality.

    You never really know how many quality players have joined your club unless you take the time to sit down and have a think, or scroll through the history books. Barcelona has had a ton of quality foreign players.

    While Barcelona's recent teams, and others throughout their history, have been well-known for creating top-level Spanish talent, there has always been a foreigner or two making waves in the league. Indeed, this current group has players like Lionel Messi and Dani Alves, not to mention the newly signed Neymar.

    As you will have guessed, any player born in a different country, even if they played for the Spanish national team, was considered for this list. 

    While it may seem a bit harsh, we won't count players before the La Liga era—meaning players like Ferenc Plattko, Emilio Sagi-Barbi (Sagi Linan) and Paulino Alcantara were not considered—though two did win the inaugral La Liga title. That still leaves plenty of talent to consider though.

    We'll be looking at a few things to decide who gets on this list. Players had to have spent a good portion of their career at the club—three years or more does the trick—and their impact, achievements and skill compared to opponents and teammates alike are important.

    Some players who were considered, like Romario and Ronaldo, don't pass all the necessary criteria. Others, like Johan Neeskens, Frank De Boer and Lilian Thuram, were struck off altogether.

    So click through to enjoy this list of the 10 best foreign players to play for Barcelona.

     

    Unless otherwise stated, all information about achievements etc. taken from FCBarcelona.com

Honorable Mentions

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    Luis Figo - Portugal

    Edged out by Rivaldo, due to the Brazilian's arrival signaling a period of success, Figo was still a great figure for Barcelona. 

    Patrick Kluivert - Netherlands

    Six seasons at the club brought only one trophy, but Kluivert was among the best in the business while playing for Barcelona.

    Romario - Brazil

    Romario was in fine form in his debut season at the Camp Nou, but he certainly he had a couple players on this list to thank.

    Ronaldo - Brazil

    One season of brilliance was enough to get Ronaldo into contention for the list, and one has to wonder what could have happened had he stayed.

    Thierry Henry - France

    Henry was behind both Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi when he joined, but contributed well to some key recent achievements.

    Sandor Kocsis - Hungary

    His Hungarian compatriot, Ladislao Kubala, gets all the praise, quite rightly, but Sandor Kocsis was no slouch. 

    Deco - Portugal/Brazil

    His teammates, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o, took the plaudits, but Deco was very important for Barcelona.

    Evaristo de Macedo - Brazil

    The Brazilian forward had some good success with Barcelona, picking up six trophies in all.

    Eulogio Martinez - Paraguay

    168 goals in 225 games highlights the impact that Eulogio Martinez had at Barcelona.

     

    Considered, but knocked off the list at the first hurdle

    Ferenc Plattko 

    Emilio Sagi-Barba 

    Paulino Alcantara 

    Ramon Villaverde

    Hans Krankl

    Julio Cesar Benitez

    Johan Neeskens

    Diego Maradona

    Lilian Thuram

    Frank de Boer

     

10. Bernd Schuster

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    Country: Germany

    Time at the club: Eight seasons

    Achievements: La Liga, Three Copa del Rey titles, Cup Winners Cup, Spanish Super Cup, Two Spanish League Cup

    For whatever reason, Bernd Schuster's name sometimes gets lost when you consider lists like this. He may be the first entrant on this list, but he's certainly deserving. 

    He was Barcelona's shining light during the 80's, even after the arrival of one Diego Maradona. He drove the team forward from midfield, scoring goals and providing moments of pure quality.

09. Hristo Stoichkov

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    Country: Bulgaria

    Time at the club: Five Seasons

    Achievements: Five La Liga Titles, Four Spanish Super Cups, European Cup, Two Copa del Rey Titles, Two European Super Cups, Cup Winners Cup

    Hristo Stoichkov is one of three "Dream Team" players on this list. The Bulgarian attacker combined pace, dribbling skills and a powerful shot to be one of the most dangerous members of an illustrious squad.

    Stoichkov scored 136 goals in 336 games, and though he had to share the pitch with some top talents, there's no doubting the impact he had on Barcelona's fortunes.

08. Rivaldo

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    Country: Brazil

    Time at the club: Five Seasons

    Achievements: Two La liga titles, UEFA Super Cup, Copa del Rey

    Rivaldo joined the club at the beginning of the 1997/98 season, and immediately helped the club to back-to-back La Liga titles. The versatile attacker used his excellent left foot to create and score a good number of goals for the club.

    Rivaldo scored 136 goals in 253 games for Barcelona, including that hat-trick against Valencia.

07. Ronald Koeman

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    Country: Netherlands

    Time at the club: Six Seasons

    Achievements: Four La Liga titles, European Cup, European Super Cup, Copa del Rey, Two Spanish Super Cups

    It's a high honor to be the only defensive player on a list like this, but Ronald Koeman is worthy of it.

    The Dutch defender doesn't look out of place thanks to his technical skills on the ball, namely his passing abilities, as well as his goal-scoring prowess further up the field.

    Koeman made it easy for the likes of Michael Laudrup and Romario to do the fancy work up top, providing steel and security at the back.

06. Samuel Eto'o

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    Country: Cameroon

    Time at the Club: Five Seasons

    Achievements: Three La Liga titles, Two Champions League Titles, Copa del Rey, Two Spanish Super Cups

    During his time at the club, Samuel Eto'o set himself apart as arguably the best forward in the world. Strong, quick and capable of creating on his own as well as setting up a teammate, Eto'o was the complete package.

    He scored in two Champions League finals, the club won both, and was, up until recently, the third highest league scorer in the club's history. In all, Eto'o scored 152 goals in 232 games.

05. Michael Laudrup

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    Country: Denmark

    Time at the club: Five Seasons

    Achievements: Four La Liga titles, European Cup, European Super Cup, Copa del Rey, Two Spanish Super Cups

    Denmark's best-ever talent shines brightly in illustrious company. Michael Laudrup wowed all during his time in Spain, even after making the direct switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid.

    He played with the likes of Romario, Ronald Koeman and Hristo Stoichkov during his time at the club, and was undoubtedly the best of the bunch. Able to score and create at will, Laudrup led the "Dream Team" to plenty of success.

04. Johan Cruyff

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    Country: Netherlands

    Time at the club: Five Seasons

    Achievements: La Liga

    Johan Cruyff will probably remain as the only player on this list to impact the club on the pitch and from the bench. We'll focus on his time on the pitch though.

    He may not have picked up as many titles as others on this list, but he was important in helping the club win it's first La Liga title since 1960. He won that title during the 1973/74 season.

    Cruyff is one of the most underrated stars in the history of the game, but he is well appreciated at Barcelona because of his contribution.

03. Ronaldinho

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    Country: Brazil

    Time at the club: Five Seasons

    Achievements: Two La Liga titles, Champions League, Two Spanish Super Cups

    Ronaldinho is credited with playing a major part in getting Barcelona to where it is today, and deservedly so.

    His infectious smile and enthusiasm while playing the game was matched by talents that few possessed. Ronaldinho, until a time, was the best player on a team that contained others on this list.

    The Brazilian's last season at the club was a little poor in comparison to others, but he is most certainly a must for this list considering the impact he had.

02. Ladislao Kubala

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    Country: Hungary

    Time at the club: 11 Seasons

    Achievements: Four La Liga titles, two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups, Five Copa del Rey Cups, Latin Cup, Two Eva Duarte Cups

    Ladislao Kubala's name is one of the first you think of when you consider older legends of the club. With 280 goals in 345 games, Kubala is one of the top scorers in club history.

    The Hungarian attacker was listed as the greatest Barcelona player in a poll, though it's likely that he'll be surpassed by a certain Argentinian on this list.

1. Lionel Messi

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    Country: Argentina 

    Time at the club: Nine seasons

    Achievements: Six La Liga titles, Three Champions League titles, Two UEFA Super Cup titles, Two Spanish Cup titles, Five Spanish Super Cup titles, Two Club World Cup titles

    Was there really going to be anyone else? Lionel Messi has become the world's best player during his time at the club, and it's easy to see why. 

    While there has been no shortage of greats to play for the club, both Spanish and foreign, Messi stands above the rest. His individual achievements are matched by none, and his club achievements are matched by few.

    The little Argentinian may well spend the rest of his career at the club, and will leave a most indelible mark.