Lionel Messi: Where are his teammates from Barcelona first team debut now?

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Is there a player that better epitomises and encapsulates everything that makes the beautiful game beautiful better than Lionel Messi?

Probably not.

The Argentinean maestro has made all this 'elite football' malarkey look like an absolute doddle for nearly two decades now, breaking every possible record there was to break in the process.

Having signed for Barcelona at the tender age of 12, hopes were high for Messi, but no one could have predicted the beyond-stratospheric heights he would reach.

Only four years after signing for the club, Messi was making his first team debut in a game against FC Porto.

Coming on in the dying stages of the game, Messi showed glimpses and flutters of what he was capable of and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Enter Giveaway

It has now been 18 years since that scrawny, wide-eyed teenager took to the field and a lot has changed in the world of football. So that got us thinking, what became of his teammates from that day?

Well we went back through the records so as to be able to answer that very question, and, in truth, it's a bit of an odd bunch.

Albert Jorquera

There is perhaps no one that played the part of understudy goalkeeper better than Albert Jorquera.

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He spent 15 years at the Camp Nou, averaging just over one and a half appearances per year with 24.

He retired at the age of 31 to join his family's jewellery business.

Oscar Lopez

Another perennial understudy, Lopez struggled with injury throughout his career meaning he could never quite nail down a starting spot at Barcelona.

After taking a bit of a winding road, he is now back at Barcelona, where he works as coach in the youth ranks.

Oleguer

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Oleguer is the first player on the list who can be considered a bona-fide Barcelona regular.

Since retiring at the age of 31 following a spell with Dutch giants Ajax, Oleguer has become a political activist, campaigning for Catalan independence.

Rafael Marquez 

Now there's a name we recognise.

Marquez was also in his debut season at Barcelona but he would go on to become one of the first names on the team sheet at the club.

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Following his retirement, he was introduced as Atlas' (his home club in Mexico) new sporting president, a role he held until 2019 and he now manages the youth side at Alcala.

Fernando Navarro 

Navarro would go on to enjoy the most successful period of his career at Sevilla, rather than Barcelona.

He retired in 2018 after suffering relegation with Deportivo.

Xavi 

One of Messi's favourite partners in crime.

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Xavi would spend most of his career setting Messi up with his unmatched vision and sorcerous touch before stepping into management following retirement.

He was recently unveiled as the new Barcelona boss, where he has been tasked with getting the famous Spanish club back on track following a difficult few years.

Sergio Santamaria 

The folks in Catalonia had high hopes for Santamaria after he won the Golden Ball and Player of the Tournament at the u/17 World Cup in 1997 ahead of the likes of Ronaldinho.

Sadly, he would never live up to his billing, lurching about in the Spanish lower leagues before cutting his career short due to injuries.

Ramon Ros

Possibly the most obscure of the lot, Ramon Ros made one solitary La Liga appearance for Barca.

He was brutally forced to retire from the game at the age of only 26 after injuries decimated his career. 

Gabri 

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Another more recognisable figure, Gabri made 200 appearances for Barcelona before retiring - he even managed to win two titles and the Champions League.

He is now the manager of Spanish side Club Lleida Esportiu following spells at the helm of Sion and FC Andorra.

Luis Garcia 

It's an oft forgotten fact that Messi and Liverpool legend Garcia played together. 

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He would enjoy his headiest times on Merseyside before jumping from club to club in the final years of his career.

He now works as a football pundit and analyst, mostly for ESPN.

Luis Enrique

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It would be completely misguided to say that Enrique enjoyed a more successful career in football since calling time on his playing days.

He would go on to manage Messi in one of the best Barcelona teams ever crafted and now plies his trade as the boss of the Spanish national side. 

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