FC Barcelona: Ranking the Seven Best Individual Performances of the Past Decade
FC Barcelona are one of the biggest, most popular clubs in the world, and it's no surprise that some of the finest players on the planet have played for this great club over the past decade.
The thing with great players is that, although they always have very high standards, some days they perform in an absolutely inspired way and are pretty much unstoppable.
The following is a ranking of the seven most inspired performances by Barcelona player in the past decade, with links for those who wish to watch these moments of beautiful football in Youtube.
7-Eto'o vs Valladolid 6-0 2008/2009
In 2008/2009, Barcelona had the most successful season in football history and Eto'o was one of the main causes.
In this match against Valladolid, at the beginning of the season, this Barcelona legend scored four goals and led Barcelona to an impressive 6-0 win. He had a lot more great performances with the blaugrana jersey, but this one deserves special praise: after all, it's not every day that a player scores four goals, even if it's against Valladolid.
6-Rivaldo at AC Milan 3-3 2000/2001
Barcelona went through a terrible crisis in the 1999-2004 period. However, there was one player who clearly stood out: the legendary Brazilian master Rivaldo.
In this match, in the group stage of the Champions League, Rivaldo scored a hat trick at San Siro and led Barcelona to a respectable 3-3 draw. Two of the goals were from free-kicks, which is not surprising considering that Rivaldo is certainly one of the most efficient free-kick takers ever.
Milan had one of the strongest defences in Europe led by the great Paolo Maldini, but they were just powerless to stop Rivaldo.
5-Messi Vs Real Madrid 3-3 2006/2007
2006/2007 was when Messi finally started showing the world all this talent. This match is the story of the season. Despite Ronaldinho's brilliance, Messi completely outshone him. This match is a great example of that: Ronaldinho played great, but Messi was just out of this world and scored a hat trick.
When a 19-year-old scores a hat trick in the biggest derby in Europe, you know he's meant for greatness.
4-Ronaldinho at Real Madrid 0-3 2005/2006
Every football fan remembers this match as the match where Ronaldinho got a standing ovation at the Santiago Bernabeu. And what a completely deserved ovation. Ronaldinho played superbly, scored two goals and showcased all his tricks in Barcelona's 3-0 demolition at the Bernabeu.
During the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons at Barcelona, Ronaldinho was consistently great, but this was undoubtedly his best. Vintage Ronaldinho for 90 minutes.
3-Xavi at Real Madrid 2-6 2008/2009
When a player has four assists in a single match, praise is only natural. Especially if this match is at Santiago Bernabeu, against Real Madrid!
Barcelona won 6-2 at the Bernabeu and Xavi was the undisputed hero, with four assists and an absolutely brilliant performance. As always, Xavi commanded the field like no other.
Henry, Messi (both braces), Puyol and Piqué might have scored the goals, but Xavi was the hero on the day. He led Barcelona to an unforgettable night to all the blaugrana fans.
Despite the absence of goals, everyone who understands football will understand Xavi's inclusion here.
2-Rivaldo vs Valencia 3-2 2000/2001
With only one match left, Valencia were in fourth place with 63 points and Barcelona in the fifth place with 60 points. In the last match of the season, Barcelona hosted Valencia and only a win would allow Barcelona to grab the last Champions League spot.
Everything was at stake and Rivaldo put on one of the best individual performances ever seen.
He scored three fabulous goals and Barcelona won 3-2. His third goal was a bicycle kick from the edge of the area in the 90th minute of the game, and is regarded as one of his greatest goals ever in a combination of importance and skill. It was 2-2 and that amazing goal sent Barcelona to the 2001/2002 Champions League.
A truly amazing performance by one of the most skilled players ever to wear the blaugrana jersey.
1-Messi vs Arsenal 4-1 2009/2010
This is a no-brainer. Only a once-in-a-generation player could score four goals in a Champions League quarter final against such quality opposition as Arsenal.
And Messi made it all look so effortless...
Messi's performance was so impressive that right after this match pundits around the world started discussing Messi's place among the game's all-time greats.
If you saw this match, you surely understand why. Arsenal fought valliently but they were powerless to stop the Messi juggernaut. Arsène Wenger, on the receiving end of the Messi show, was forced to admit after the match that the Argentine is by far the best player in the universe.