Suarez, Messi, Ronaldinho: Who are the greatest players in Barcelona history?

  • Kobe Tong

Barcelona waved goodbye to one of their greatest ever players this week: Luis Suarez.

The enigmatic striker drew the curtains on a stellar six-year spell at Camp Nou, securing a move to Atletico Madrid after Ronald Koeman made it clear that he didn’t feature in his plans.

But as much as Suarez was hellbent on chasing a new challenge this summer, that didn’t mean that leaving Barcelona‘s training ground for the final time wasn’t an emotional moment.

Suarez departs Barcelona

Suarez was seen crying in his car on Wednesday as his exit loomed and the Uruguayan had to fight back the tears in a farewell press conference the following day.

His time with Barcelona might have ended on a duff note with the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich, but there’s no denying that Suarez will be remembered as a legend in the Catalan capital.

There have been so many world-class players that have pulled on the famous red and blue jersey that it’s surprisingly hard to be considered amongst their greatest ever alumni.


A Barcelona legend

Nevertheless, Suarez’s dizzying achievements in Catalonia are such that he has really thrust himself amongst Barcelona’s finest ever sons both in the modern era and epochs past.

So, in order to commemorate Suarez’s time with the Blaugrana, we decided to see where he fits into the players we consider to be Barcelona’s greatest and duly constructed our own top 25.

As you can imagine, comparing players who took to the Camp Nou pitch decades and even centuries apart is no easy task, so be sure to take our selections with a pinch of salt.


Barcelona’s 25 greatest players

That being said, we’re pretty sure Suarez – and yes, we mean the most recent one – is deserving of his place high in the rankings, so be sure to check out our full list down below:

25. Ronaldo Nazario

It’s credit to Ronaldo that he makes the cut despite having only played at Barcelona for just one season, but his astonishing record of 47 goals in 49 games will never be forgotten.


24. José Mari Bakero

It’s because of Bakero’s legendary header against Kaiserslautern that Barcelona won their first ever European Cup in 1992 and the Spaniard also scooped four league titles for good measure.

23. Sergio Busquets

The metronomic midfielder is one of the finest products to emerge from the world-renowned La Masia academy and boasts an astonishing 29 major honours from his 579 appearances.


22. Rivaldo

Aside from scoring arguably the greatest hat-trick in football history in Barcelona colours, Rivaldo surpassed 100 goals for the Spanish giants and also won the 1999 Ballon d’Or for his efforts.

21. Ferran Olivella

One of Barcelona’s greatest leaders. The captain of Spain’s European Championship-winning side of 1964 turned out a mammoth 500 times for the Blaugrana and won two league crowns.


20. Neymar

Say what you like about his unceremonious exit to PSG, but Neymar was knocking on the door of Ballon d’Or glory with a lucrative four-season spell that reaped 105 goals and 77 assists.

19. Javier Mascherano

Like Busquets, Mascherano won enough titles at Barca to earn his trophy cabinet a mortgage and will always deserve credit for reinventing himself as a centre-back to make over 300 appearances.


18. Samuel Eto’o

When you think about it, Eto’o is pretty underrated in the annuls of Barcelona history, boasting an insane record of 130 goals in 199 games and scoring in two Champions League finals.

17. Victor Valdes

His career-saving performance in the 2006 Champions League final inspired Valdes to become the most decorated goalkeeper in Barcelona’s history, shining across 535 appearances.


16. Pep Guardiola

To put it simply, Guardiola was the ‘original Busquets’ as he won six league titles, the European Cup and a home-town Olympic gold on his way to becoming one of the club’s greatest managers.

15. Luis Suarez

No, not that one… the original Suarez became a hero in Catalonia after defeating Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano to the 1960 Ballon d’Or in the same year he knocked them out of the European Cup.


14. Paulinho Alcantara

Depending on your definition of an official goal, the Daily Mail clock Alcantara as having scored a mind-blowing 357 times in as many games for Barca, while also winning five Spanish Cups.

13. Ronald Koeman

The current manager will forever be remembered for his scorching winner in the 1992 European Cup final, but his overall record of 88 Barcelona goals from the defence is equally memorable.


12. Pepe Samitier

Officially the fifth highest scorer in Barcelona’s illustrious history, Samitier made his debut for the club at just 17 years old in 1919 and bagged himself two league titles across a 13-season spell.

11. Gerard Pique

Pique is one of the finest defenders of the modern era and a crucial player in the legendary Barcelona side that harvested three Champions League titles and swathes of league crowns.


10. Luis Suarez

Here he is, the man himself. It only took Suarez six seasons to become the third highest goalscorer in Barcelona’s history, winning the Champions League and four league titles to boot.

And if nothing else, Suarez will always have the distinction of beating a prime Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the 2015/16 European Golden Shoe with an insane 59 goals in 53 games.

9. Cesar

In the words of Cesar’s widow: “If he played today with Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta he would get 50 goals a season”. He remains second in Barcelona’s all-time scoring ranks, to be fair.


8. Dani Alves

It’s impossible not to rank the most decorated footballer in history in the top ten because his time with Barcelona, bagging 23 trophies in eight years, was his most lucrative collaboration of all.

7. Carles Puyol

The greatest leader to ever pull on the Barcelona jersey, Puyol was the epitome of the club’s never-say-die attitude across an almost 600-game spell that reaped a quarter-century of trophies.


6. Johan Cruyff

If Cruyff had the impact at Barcelona on the pitch that he did in the dugout, a top three place would be secure, but the Dutchman still warrants a lofty finish for his 143-game stay in Spain.

5. Ronaldinho

There has arguably never been a more entertaining player to pull on the Barcelona top with the mercurial Brazilian waving goodbye to the club with a Ballon d’Or and Champions League trophy.


4. Andres Iniesta

What an absolute icon. Iniesta shouldn’t just be considered in the top five in Barcelona history, but perhaps for 21st century football in general, dazzling his way to four Champions League triumphs.

3. Ladislao Kubala

The legendary Kubala is Barca’s fourth-highest all-time scorer and so many fans wanted to see him play in the 1950s that they built the 93,000 capacity Camp Nou to replace the much smaller Camp de les Corts.


2. Xavi

The record-appearance maker in Barcelona history also happens to be one of their most talented ever stars, winning an incredible 25 titles in over 59,000 minutes as the club’s midfield heartbeat.

1. Lionel Messi

Like, duh. Messi is the greatest footballer in history, never mind at Barcelona, so it only makes sense that their all-time top scorer takes the crown and more records could fall this season.

Barca fans will be hoping that the club can persuade him to play on beyond next summer because his resumé of six Ballon d’Or titles, 634 goals and 731 games is nothing short of mind-bending.


Congratulations Luis Suarez

Congratulations, Luis, you have earned yourself 10th place in one of football’s most illustrious lists.

The fact that Barcelona’s very own motto – mes que un club – proclaims them as more than a club goes some way towards telling you how prestigious it is to be considered one of their legends.

Suarez will forever go down as one of football’s most divisive characters, there’s no doubt about that, but nobody can deny that what he achieved in a Barcelona shirt was the stuff of legend.

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