Barcelona is without any hesitation one of the best football teams in the world at this very moment. The Blaugrana have become a reference for most football fans across the globe given all the good stuff they have done in recent years and all the accolades they’ve collected since the beginning of the 21st century.
It’s not a secret that they weren’t as good as they archrivals, Real Madrid, during a big part of the last century, but Barcelona has made sure to catch up during this one, as they started to sign good players that could lift up their level and made them one of the biggest powerhouses in football elite right now.
At this point, they’re probably one of the three most important teams in the world and all of that came after several years of struggle. This time we’re going to take a look at some transfer the Blaugrana made and helped them become one of the best clubs on earth. Here are the 10 best Barcelona signings in the last 20 years.
Honorable Mention: Arthur Melo
Anderson Luis de Souza, also known as Deco, landed in Barcelona to become one of the best signings in recent history for the Blaugrana. After outstanding performances with Porto, where he won the Champions League in 2004, this Brazilian-born Portuguese midfielder took his talents to Spain, where he became one of the best players in his position during the last decade.
With his versatility, intelligence and creativity, Deco became a fan favorite in Camp Nou, helping Barcelona to win two La Liga titles and one Champions League during the short time he spent with the team. He was awarded Ballon D'or Silver Ball in 2004 and the UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year in 2006 thanks to his performances in the mentioned Barça's Champions League-winning season. He left Barcelona after four years in 2008, leaving nothing but good memories in Spain.
9. Arturo Vidal
Arturo Vidal only has one season in Barcelona and he already made it to this list. Many fans didn’t believe he would have many chances to display the best of his game at Camp Nou, but the Chilean player told otherwise, fighting for a spot and becoming an important agent in the team both as a starter or coming off the bench.
Vidal landed in a team with plenty of midfielders and that looked to make his stay more complicated, but Arturo waited for his moment, worked silently and at the end of the season, he was one of the most important players in the team’s roster. His anti-Madrid feelings also earned him the love from Barcelona’s fans and now his tenure in Spain might be longer than we initially expected.
8. Jordi Alba
This Spanish left-back had been one of the best in his position since his days with Valencia, where he made himself a known name. Alba landed in Barcelona seven years ago, in 2012, after outstanding performances with The Bats and the Spanish national side that won the EURO that year.
He arrived in Barcelona as a very promising player and albeit his game wasn’t the best at some point of his stint with the team, Alba overcame all of that and right now is one of the most important assets in the squad. He’s become one of the best partners to Leo Messi, creating a great association with the Argentinian that has helped and rescued Barcelona more than once when games seemed locked.
7. Neymar Jr.
Perhaps Neymar’s history with Barcelona didn’t end the best way, nobody can say the Brazilian didn’t help the team to play good and achieve big things. Neymar landed in Camp Nou in 2014 from Santos, expected to be the next big thing in European football; he played really good with the club, but he wanted more than just being Messi’s wingman and decided to part ways.
He spent three years in Barcelona, where he scored 105 goals in 186 games, winning two La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey and one Champions League. More than once when Messi or Luis Suarez weren’t having their best game, Neymar always showed up to save the club and, at the end of seasons, his goals were always credited for the successes of the club.
6. Gerard Pique
The Spanish center-back is one of the most beloved players in Barcelona not only now but in their whole history, as Pique represents very well the Catalonian people. He spent a couple of seasons in England playing under the rule of Sir Alex Ferguson in Manchester United, but after he wasn’t given much action time, he decided to departure and signed with Barcelona.
Well, that was the best decision he could have made as Pique became a complete idol in Camp Nou, winning the Champions League in his first year with the team, curiously against his former team, Manchester United. Gerard has collected plenty of titles during his tenure with the club, including three Champions League, eight La Liga, and six Copa del Rey.
5. Dani Alves
Dani Alves went from being a very good right-back to become the best player in the position during his times with the Spanish giants. Alves landed from Sevilla in 2008 and helped Barcelona to be the best team in the world instantly, as he was part of that team that won the famous sextuple in 2009.
He left Barcelona to go play for Juventus in 2016 having played 391 games, scoring 21 goals and assisting for another 100 scores. Alves went to win over 20 titles with the Blaugrana, including three Champions League, six La Liga titles and four Copa del Rey. No wonder why he’s the active player with most titles.
4. Javier Mascherano
Javier Mascherano is one of those players that nobody can hate; he is everything you want to see in a player, and more if they play for your team. This Argentinian midfielder had good runs in Brazil and England before getting to Barcelona, where he became the best of the best in his position.
He spent three years in Liverpool, showing interesting things that made Barcelona turn their head to him and buy him in 2010. He spent eight years with the club, where he won anything they could win. Masche became one of the leaders of the team thanks to his versatility, strength, and commitment to the club. Within his titles, you can find two Champions League as well as five La Liga trophies and two FIFA Club World Cup. He left the club in 2018 as one of the best signings they had ever made.
3. Samuel Eto’o
Samuel Eto’o is probably one of the best three strikers Barcelona has had in history, as this guy wasn’t as recognized as others during his prime, but was as much or more effective than some of the most famous attackers of the time. The Cameroonian landed in Barcelona after good seasons with Mallorca, where he became a total idol.
Albeit many thought at the time he hadn’t much to offer to the Blaugrana seeing they counted with one of the best strikers in Europe at that moment in Henrik Larsson, Eto’o knew he had to play great if he wanted to succeed with his new club. Good thing he did and became the leader of the attack alongside Ronaldinho and later Lio Messi. He left the club and joined Inter in 2009 after 130 goals in 199 games, two Champions League wins and three La Liga titles in exchange for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
2. Luis Suarez
This Uruguayan striker has been the best of the best for a couple of years now, following great performances with Barcelona that have taken Suarez to the elite of football. Following good years with Dutch Ajax and English Liverpool, Suarez took his talents to Barcelona amid controversy, but that didn’t stop him to become one of the best in his position.
He arrived at the club in 2014 when Barcelona assembled one of the best trios of attackers in football in recent years, composed by Suarez, Messi, and Neymar. Ever since that, Lucho has maintained as one of the most reliable strikers in the world, turning into a scoring machine for Barcelona.
Suarez has played 247 games with the Blaugrana so far, scoring scored 177 goals while winning one Champions League title, four La Liga titles, and four Copa del Rey.
1. Ronaldinho Gaucho
If it wasn’t for Lio Messi, Ronaldinho would probably be the best player in Barcelona’s history, as the Brazilian midfielder was Barcelona’s biggest idol before Lio took the world by storm. Dinho landed in Barcelona in 2003 after having decent participations with French side Paris Saint-Germain; the World Cup winner made sure to take Barcelona from being a decent team to the top spots in every competition they played while he was part of the club.
He was named the best player in the world by FIFA two years in a row (2004, 2005), won a Ballon d’Or in 2005 and took Barcelona to win two consecutive La Liga editions in 2005 and 2006 as well as the Champions League in 2006. Albeit he left the team with more grief than glory, Ronaldinho is going to be remembered as the guy who took Barcelona back to the headlines with his happy football.