That famous blue and red strip, the classic battles with Real Madrid, seeing Camp Nou in all its glory on European nights, the iconography of Barcelona dwarfs pretty much everyone else in world football.
They are very proud of La Masia and rightly so, as it keeps a core of talented Spanish players close to the first team squad at all times, keeping to their roots as one of Spain’s most prominent talent factories. That’s not to say however that they haven’t had their fair share of excellent foreign imports.
So here at 90min, we’ve decided to conjure up an all-star Barça side made up of 11 different nationalities, which from a club that at one point fielded a team of 11 academy products in an important league game, is no mean feat.
GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Germany)
Kicking off this list as he so often does his clubs attacking play, ?ter Stegen is one of the best goalkeepers playing today.
He had to wait for his chance to cement his place in the first team, being restricted to just European football for his first two seasons for La Blaugrana. When it came, however, he grabbed it with two hands, much like 99% of the shots he faces.
RB: Dani Alves (Brazil)
Barcelona have had a wealth of world class Brazilian forwards over the years who’ve graced La Liga with style and trickery. It just goes to show how good ?Dani Alves was for the club that he takes a spot here.
Alves played 391 games for the Catalan giants, winning everything a footballer in Europe can, and becoming officially the most decorated footballer in history with 40 major honours. He’s even still going strong at age 36, playing for Sao Paulo back home in Brazil.
He has become the benchmark for every full-back to be compared with. How unfair on them.
CB: Rafael Marquez (Mexico)
When Pep Guardiola became ?Barcelona head coach, he had a complete overhaul of the squad, removing all but one of Frank Rijkaard’s major signings -the one who remained was Marquez.
A consummate professional and a world class defender, Marquez formed a formidable partnership with club icon Carles Puyol, and is thought of as arguably the greatest player from the CONCACAF region.
CB: Ronald Koeman (Netherlands)
Barcelona have a long history of great Dutch players in their team, stretching back to Johan Cruyff. While Cruyff may have revolutionised Barcelona’s style of play as coach in the 90s, Koeman was the rock at the back allowing them to play beautiful football.
Famous for a goal record that would rival most forwards whilst playing as a sweeper, Koeman’s crowning achievement was scoring the only goal as Barça won their first European Cup in 1992
LB: Eric Abidal (France)
A crowd favourite at Camp Nou as a player, Abidal racked up 193 appearances for Barcelona, and it should have been a lot more.
The Frenchman missed over a hell of a lot of football between 2011 and 2013 when a tumour was discovered in his liver, undergoing various operations. And yet he was still able to play the full 90 minutes in Barcelona’s Champions League final win against Manchester United. Hero.
CM: Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Picking Barcelona’s greatest Spanish player is like asking a teenage girl in 2011 to pick her favourite member of One Direction – extremely difficult, but not impossible. The correct answer is up for debate, but in this team, Iniesta fits like a glove.
Football matches bent themselves around Iniesta’s play, and it’s said he could find space to receive a pass in a mosh pit.
CM: Gheorghe Hagi (Romania)
Hagi didn’t spend much time at Barcelona, but when he played, he was unstoppable.
He had a wand of a left foot, played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, and is easily Romania’s greatest ever player.
AM: Michael Laudrup (Denmark)
The great Dane, and yet so often overlooked in the history books.
Laudrup was a mainstay of Cruyff’s team of all talents between ’89 and ’94, before being voted as one of ?Real Madrid’s greatest foreign players despite only spending two years in the capital.
That’s one weird and muddied legacy…
RW: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Of course, this side would be too overpowered if Javier Saviola was picked as the Argentine, so instead Messi gets the spot.
As difficult as it is leaving Maradona out of any side, Messi more than makes up for his exclusion because of his impact at Barcelona alone.
LW: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
Remembered for a temper that makes Roy Keane look innocent, Stoichkov was an inspirational football on his day. Capable of playing anywhere along the front, his partnership with Romario in the early 90s was a pure dream.
Nicknamed ‘the gunslinger’, he dragged an unfenced Bulgaria to fourth place at the 1994 World Cup, winning the Ballon d’Or for his troubles. Perhaps his greatest achievement in football was making sure Romario didn’t spend too much time partying.
CF: Laszlo Kubala (Hungary)
One of football’s original superstars, Kubala played for Barcelona between 1951 and 1961, ending his time in Catalonia with an eye-watering 131 goals in 186 games, enough to earn him a statue outside the stadium.
Kubala’s life has all the makings of a Hollywood film – he was a Cold War refugee, narrowly avoiding the flight which tragically killed Torino’s famous team of the 1940s, and was banned by FIFA for a year for refusing his military service.
It’s often thought he was the missing piece of the Magnificent Magyar side that failed to win the 1954 World Cup final after opting to take up Spanish citizenship.