FC Barcelona: Team of the Decade

Manuel TraqueteSenior Analyst IOctober 2, 2010

FC Barcelona: Team of the Decade

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 03:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Mallorca at the Camp Nou stadium on October 3, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Despite a shaky start, the first decade of the noughties was a very successful decade for Barcelona. They won four Spanish Leagues, two Champions Leagues and, in 2009, they become the first club in history to win the sextuple.

    Many great players wore the blaugrana shirt in the past decade, which made it really difficult to pick the lineup of the decade. As it should be expected, the majority of the players belong to the 2008-09 dream team that won the sextuple.

    Without further ado, here's Barcelona's team of the decade (4-3-3 formation):

Goalkeeper: Victor Valdés

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    BILBAO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 25:  Goalkeeper Victor Valdes of Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona at the San Mames Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Bilbao, Spain. Barcelona won the match 3-1.  (Photo by Jasper Ju
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    A no-brainer. Victor Valdés was a key player in every trophy Barcelona won in the past decade. This great goalkeeper is underrated by many, but he's definitely the unsung hero of FC Barcelona, and is one of the top goalkeepers in the world.

Left-Back: Giovanni Van Bronckhorst

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 15: Gio Van Bronkhorst of Barcelona in action during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Mallorca on April 15, 2007, played at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Bagu Blanco/Getty Images).
    Bagu Blanco/Getty Images

    The left-back position has always been a weakness in Barcelona, but Gio was clearly the best in the past decade.

    He is by no means a brilliant player, but he was always reliable. Besides, he was the only player who participated in all Champions League matches in 2005-06, having played a vital role in Barcelona's conquest of Europe.

Centre-Back: Carles Puyol

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 25:  Carles Puyol of Barcelona holds the Joan Gamper Trophy after his team beat AC Milan in the Joan Gamper Trophy match between Barcelona and AC Milan at Camp Nou stadium on August 25, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Denis
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    A Barcelona legend and, after this year's World Cup, a football legend.

    The Barcelona captain is a symbol of everything Barcelona stand for as a club. His commitment is an example to every youth player coming through the ranks. He might not be the most skilled defender on the planet, but he makes up for that with his intensity and ruggedness.

    Puyol is undoubtedly the heart of Barcelona and he had to be included here.

Centre-Back: Gerard Piqué

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 14:  Gerard Pique of Barcelona watches on during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Barcelona and Panathinaikos on September 14, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Another fine La Masia product. Gerard Piqué makes a fantastic duo with Puyol (both in Barcelona and in Spain), and he has everything it takes to become the best centre-back in the world.

    In fact, many tap him to be the best defender since Beckenbauer, including the German legend himself. The similarities between the two are apparent. Some of his fans call him "Piquenbauer."

    Piqué will certainly be a Barcelona legend and, once Puyol retires, the armband will probably be his.

Right-Back: Daniel Alves

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Daniel Alves of Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Sporting de Gijon at Nou Camp on September 22, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won 1.0.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/G
    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    Arguably the best signing of recent years. Daniel Alves is probably the best fullback in the world right now. He provides defensive safety, he's a formidable attacking threat, and he is dangerous from free-kicks. He basically has the full package.

    Signing Alves in the summer of 2008 was a decisive move; Alves played a major role in Barcelona's sextuple-winning 2009 year.

Centre Midfielder: Xavi Hernandez

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 11:  Xavier Hernandez of Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Hercules at the Camp Nou stadium on September 11, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona lost the match 2-0.  (Photo by Jasper Ju
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    The leader on the pitch. Xavi is the player who makes everything work.

    Xavi is a football legend. Many in Spain consider him the best Spanish player ever, since he was the one who finally led their nation to international glory after decades of failure.

    Xavi's vision, passing accuracy, and ability to provide passing lines are key to the tiki-taka style, and make him the most important player in both Barcelona and Spain. He's the one making the likes of Messi and David Villa shine so bright.

Centre Midfielder: Andrés Iniesta

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 14:  Andres Iniesta of Barcelona watches on prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League group D match between Barcelona and Panathinaikos on September 14, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won the match 5-1.  (Photo by J
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Xavi's partner in crime. Xavi and Iniesta form the best midfield duo in the world, and their partnership is absolutely decisive for Barcelona and Spain.

    However, Iniesta also has some amazing skills of his own. He's also a great passer, he has amazing technique and close control, and he's one of the best dribblers in the game. He's pure class. Besides, even though he doesn't score a lot, he has a tendency to score when it matters the most: The goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the goal against Holland in the World Cup final made him a legend of the game, and will forever define his career.

Attacking Midfielder: Rivaldo

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    9 Apr 2002: Rivaldo of Barcelona in action during the Champions League quarter final, 2nd leg match between Barcelona and Panathinaikos at the Nou Camp Stadium, Barcelona, Spain. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Gary M. Prior/Getty Images
    Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

    In the beginning of the decade, Rivaldo had to carry Barcelona almost single-handedly. He did so brilliantly and delighted the Camp Nou with several one-man shows. His most famous individual performance was against Valencia in 2000-01; it was the last match of the season and Barcelona needed to beat Valencia to secure a Champions League spot. Rivaldo stepped up and scored an incredible hat trick, with three fabulous goals; his third goal is certainly one of the best goals ever as far as skill and importance are concerned.

    He left Barcelona in 2002, but he is still missed by the blaugrana fans.

    In the 2002 World Cup, he, along with Ronaldo, led Brazil to the title. Many, including Luis Filipe Scolari, believed that Rivaldo should have been given the best player award (it went to Oliver Kahn).

Left Winger: Ronaldinho

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 23:  Ronaldinho of Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou Stadium on December 23, 2007 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona lost 'El Clasico' with 1-0.  (Photo by Jasper
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    After Rivaldo left Barcelona, Ronaldinho was signed and he quickly became the leader of the team. Surrounded with much more talent than his countryman, Ronaldinho managed to lead Barcelona to two incredibly successful seasons.

    His performances from 2004 to 2006 were absolutely inspiring. During this time, he was by far the best player in the world.

    He lost his magic after 2006, but still Barcelona owe him a great deal.

Right Winger: Lionel Messi

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 11:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Hercules at the Camp Nou stadium on September 11, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona lost the match 2-0.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    A pretty obvious choice. Messi is the most talented player of this generation and, at only 23, he's already considered by many pundits as one of the best players of all time.

    He combines otherworldly scoring skills with a fantastic playmaking ability, and he's practically unstoppable.

    He has already won every individual and collective trophy in football (except the World Cup), and he's on his way to become one of the best, if not the best, football player of all time.

Centre Forward: Samuel Eto'o

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 10:  Samuel Eto'o of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Villarreal at the Nou Camp stadium on May 10, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Image
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    An underrated legend, unfortunately. Along with Ronaldinho, Eto'o brought glory back to Camp Nou in the middle of the decade.

    In 2009, he was a key player in Guardiola's dream team, scoring 36 goals overall and linking up perfectly with Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry.

    In one of the worst deals in Barcelona's history, he was traded with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the summer of 2009, and Barcelona haven't been the same team ever since. It's safe to assume that every Barcelona fan misses Samuel.

    For all he did, Eto'o is a Barcelona legend.