FC Barcelona: The Worst XI of the Past Decade
Right now, the FC Barcelona crop are considered the best team in the world and one of the best of all time. The Camp Nou is treated to a spectacle every week, with world class players routinely dismantling their opposition.
But it hasn't always been like that. At the beginning of the decade, Barcelona were in great crisis, even finishing sixth in the 2003 La Liga, and some really woeful footballers donned the Blaugrana jersey (mostly in the first half of the decade).
For any culé, this slideshow will evoke really dire memories, mostly of the Joan Gaspart era, but it will also help understand how lucky they are to have the current crop and how these successful times should be cherished.
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After Hesp left, Barcelona was a true graveyard of goalkeepers. Many goalkeepers came and went, until Victor Valdés finally established himself. Out of all these keepers (Dutruel, Arnau, Reina, Enke...), Bonano was the worst.
He only cost €1.2 million, but his displays were frankly horrible. In his first season, Barcelona ended in fourth place in La Liga thanks to Rivaldo's heroics, in a season full of blunders by Bonano, a player no Barcelona supporter misses.
Bonano is arguably the worst goalkeeper of the past decade at Barcelona.
LB: Oscar Lopez
It's not easy to be more horrible than Sorin and Coco, but Oscar Lopez manages just that. He made Oleguer look like a supremely talented footballer and reinforced the belief that being Catalan was not enough to play for FC Barcelona.
He was eventually shipped off to Lazio and then to Betis, where he seems to have found a home (on the bench, that is).
CB: Patrick Anderson
Finding a partner first from Frank de Boer and then for Carles Puyol was one of the hardest tasks Barcelona had to face this decade.
Eventually, Rafa Marquez and then Gerard Piqué proved to be up to the task, but before that, many players were signed and flopped monumentally.
One of the worst cases is Patrick Anderson. He was signed from Bayern Munich (where he excelled) at 30 years old in 2001 for €8 million (which was a lot in 2001).
However, injuries and being slow as a snail meant that he only played 19 matches in three seasons, thus becoming one of Gaspart's worst signings.
If Anderson was terrible, Christanval was arguably even worse. He was signed in the same season as Anderson, for a whooping €15 million.
In his two seasons at the club, he had endless defensive blunders, not to mention that he was unable to play an offside trap.
Both he and Anderson were released for free and continued their lackluster careers in Malmo and Fulham.
I know what you're thinking: how can Reiziger be worse than Oleguer?
As for Reiziger, he was just horrible during his time at Barcelona, another disastrous Gaspart signing.
The right back position was a cursed one at Barcelona until Puyol and then Dani Alves took over.
CM: Gerard Lopez
Barcelona have always had this obsession to get back youth players who get away and are successful elsewhere. That's exactly the case here with Gerard, who after leaving Barca became a vital cog in Valencia's Champions League success (2000 final).
He was signed in 2000 for a whooping €21.5 million but turned out to be another epic flop of the Gaspart era.
He spent four years at the club, which were spent either on the bench or at the treatment table. His career was never the same again either, after showing much promise at Valencia.
CM: Fabio Rochemback
Another forgetful memory of the Gaspart era is the attempt to get young talents from South America (by splashing huge amounts of cash), an attempt that pretty much failed all the time.
One of these "young talents" was Fabio Rochemback, touted as the next big thing, Guardiola's heir.
Needless to say, reality didn't match the hype. Rochemback became notorious for his unprofessional attitude and tendency to get cards and not for his talent. His career has been in a downward spiral ever since.
CM: Thiago Motta
To Motta's credit, he was at least good at cheating and diving. The others on this list were good at nothing.
Even if he was a member of a double-winning team (a bench player, of course), his seven years at Barcelona don't evoke many good memories. He was average at best, a cheat and a liability in every sense of the word.
LW: Alexander Hleb
Is Hleb the worst player to wear the Barcelona jersey this decade? Quite possibly, and this one is all Laporta's doing, strangely Gaspart has nothing to do with this.
In his first season, he played 36 games and scored zero goals and had zero assists. His trademark move is to pretend he's going to do something dangerous and then doing something completely innocuous.
He was loaned to Stuttgart and Birmingham, where he was mostly on the bench (that's how bad he is). He's now injured, which means Barcelona can't even sell him.
To this day, few understand what made Barcelona spend €17 million on such player.
Hleb was, however, member of a legendary sextuple-winning team. He can tell that to his grandchildren.
He was supposed to be the next Rivaldo, but he ended up being an average journeyman. Once again, Gaspart decided to shell out massive amounts of money (€21 million) for unproven South American talent, with the usual results.
In his time at Barcelona, Geovanni was woefully ineffective, just doing fancy tricks with no end result and was eventually shipped off to Benfica.
His greatest achievement is to be even worse than Maxi Lopez.
Alfonso was signed for €16.5 million in 2001, and he was supposed to be a goal machine, but he delivered absolutely nothing during his two seasons at the club.
Another massive flop of the Gaspart era, but that's just par for the course.
Hope you enjoyed it.
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