FC Barcelona's Top 10 Players Of The Decade (2000-2010)
FC Barcelona has been the most successful football club for the last decade (despite not winning anything from 2000 to 2004). They won four La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, three Spanish Supercups, two Champions Leagues, one UEFA Supercup, and one FIFA Club World Cup.
FC Barcelona owe all this success to their players, who are some of the best footballers the world has ever seen.
The following are, according to me, the ten best Barcelona players of the last decade:
10-Patrick Kluivert (1998-2004)
He was in Barcelona from 1998 to 2004, which means he is linked with a terrible part of Barcelona's history (he only won one trophy in his six seasons at Barcelona).
But no one can blame Kluivert for the club's lack of success. He formed a strong partnership with Rivaldo and scored 120 goals in 255 matches. It was his teammates, and not him, who failed to deliver.
9-Pep Guardiola (1990-2001)
Guardiola is the symbol of what it means to be Catalan and to achieve the dream of captaining the club to glory. His playing style has inspired the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas (who has often stated that Guardiola is his idol). His vision, passing accuracy and creativity will never be forgotten by Barcelona's fans.
After being a vital part in Cruyff's dream team, he has now created his own version from the sidelines.
Guardiola is, for every possible reason, a Barcelona legend.
Deco played for Barcelona from 2004 to 2008 and he was a vital member of the team that won two La Liga titles and a Champions League.
His vision and passing accuracy provided countless assists and his partnership with Ronaldinho was the key to Barcelona's success.
He definitely deserves a spot in this top ten.
7-Carles Puyol (1995-?)
Puyol is one of the best centre-backs in the world, but that's not why he makes this list.
He is a club legend. His contribution goes far beyond his performances on the pitch.
He's the captain and the symbol of a club where identity (especially Catalan identity) is everything.
6-Samuel Eto'o (2004-2009)
Eto'o got to Barcelona at the same time as Deco and he was also important for the club's success.
Eto'o scored 130 goals in 200 matches, including goals in both the 2006 and 2009 Champions League finals.
He always came through in big matches and was a vital part in both Rijkaard's and Guardiola's strategy.
Barcelona fans still miss him and many believe it was a mistake selling him in the summer of 2009.
5-Andrés Iniesta (1996-?)
Another symbol and a legend in the making.
One of the best midfielders in the world. His duo with Xavi (arguably the best midfield duo in the world) has been the key to both Barcelona's and Spain's success.
Setting up goals for his teammates is what Iniesta does best. He doesn't score a lot, but he scores when it matters the most. Who doesn't remember his goal in Stamford Bridge?
He's still 26 years old and has a long (hopefully successful) career ahead of him to further establish his already rich legacy.
A football genius. For six years, Rivaldo marveled the Nou Camp with incredible goals and amazing displays of talent.
Rivaldo scored 130 goals in 235 matches and led Barcelona to two La Liga titles.
The only reason I don't rank him higher is because he failed to win a Champions League (to be honest, he had great performances in the Champions League, but not enough to win the competition).
His most famous performance is perhaps the hat-trick against Valencia. Last day of the 2001 season, Barcelona needs to win to earn a Champions League spot and Rivaldo puts on one of the best individual performances in football history: three fantastic goals. The third goal is widely regarded as one of the greatest goals ever in a combination of importance and skill.
Another football genius. He was the unquestionable leader of the team that won the 2006 Champions League.
Just like Rivaldo, Ronaldinho marveled the Nou Camp and the entire football world. He actually got a standing ovation from the Real Madrid fans in the Bernabeu after leading Barcelona to a 3-0 win.
Like Rivaldo's, Ronaldinho's stay at the Nou Camp didn't exactly have a fairytale ending, but that doesn't erase his immense contribution to the club.
2-Xavi Hernandez (1991-?)
A Barcelona legend and the best midfielder in the world. Marca's respected columnist Santiago Segurola considered him the best Spanish player in the last 40 years.
Xavi is the player who makes everything work on the pitch. He is in charge of everything Barcelona does going forward and he is the one who has allowed the likes of Ronaldinho, Eto'o and Messi to shine over the years.
He's the king of assists and also a very good free-kick taker.
He's the most important player in Barcelona's and Spain's high possession style, as his passing accuracy is almost perfect and he is always providing safe passing lines for his teammates.
He has always put team success above individual awards and, up until recently, he was a little underrated.
However, he was recently considered Player of the Tournament in Spain's victorious 2008 European Championship and Man of the Match in the 2009 Champions League final, both deserved honors. In addition, he is a strong candidate to win the Fifa Player of the Year award this year.
If he played for any other club, he'd probably get first place in a list like this one.
However, this place is reserved for one of the most talented players ever to play the game. It was a close call, though...
1-Lionel Messi (2000-?)
The pride and joy of La Masia.
Messi is the most talented player in the world and it's quite scary to think that he has just turned 23 and can only get better in the future.
He has already won four La Liga titles and two Champions League but you can bet that he won't stop at that.
He'll continue marveling the world with his talent for many years to come.