Leaving an elite club like Barcelona may seem like the end of the world, but it isn’t.
There are players who left Camp Nou but still managed their careers. Who managed to overcome disappointment and thrive in other clubs. Who are these players? We’ve rounded up 13 of the best examples!
For reference, players who have returned to Camp Nou like Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba are not included here, although they have obviously been successful enough that the Blaugrana want to sign them again.
1. Diego Maradona
Time in Barcelona: 1982-1984
Trophies won since the start: 1986 FIFA World Cup, Serie A (2), Coppa Italia 1986/87, UEFA Cup 1988/89, Supercoppa Italiana 1990.
You can’t talk about life after Barcelona unless you start with Diego Maradona, literally one of the four greatest players the game has ever seen. A flop in Catalonia, best known for his mega brawl with Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey, Maradona joined Napoli in 1984 and the rest, as they say, is history.
2. Michael Laudrup
Time in Barcelona: 1989-1994
Trophies won since the start: Liga 1994/95, FIFA Confederations Cup 1995, Eredivisie 1997/98, KNVB Cup 1997/98.
Michael Laudrup falling out with Johan Cruyff and leaving the quadruple La Liga champions could have felt like leaving Heaven, but the Dane simply went to Real Madrid and propelled Los Blancos to snatch La Liga from the Blaugrana. He then went to Ajax and had an epic career in achieving the national double.
3. Pepe Reina
Time in Barcelona: 1995-2002
Trophies won since the start: UEFA Super Cup 2005, FA Cup 2005/06, Community Shield 2006, UEFA European Championship (2), FIFA World Cup 2010, EFL Cup 2011/12, Coppa Italia 2013/14, Bundesliga 2014/15.
Before Victor ValdÃ©s, there was Pepe Reina. Except under Gaspart’s presidency, they didn’t treat La Masia well, so Reina was forced to leave the club. He stabilized at Villarreal and went on to become a literal legend playing for Liverpool and a host of other European giants, not to mention still being around during the golden age of the Spanish national team.
4. Mikel Arteta
Time in Barcelona: 1997-2001
Trophies won since the start: 2002/03 Scottish Premier League, 2002/03 Scottish League Cup, FA Cup (2), Community Shield (2).
Mikel Arteta wasn’t even good enough as a midfielder to be part of the Barcelona bench so he left and after a brief stint with PSG he became his legend in the UK. First with Rangers, then with Everton and, finally, Arsenal.
5. Luis Garcia
Time in Barcelona: 1990-1998 + 2003-2004
Trophies won since the start: Champions League 2004/05, UEFA Super Cup 2005, FA Cup 2005/06, Community Shield 2006, Indian Super League 2014.
Luis Garcia made Cesc Fabregas’ ‘come home’ before he was cool, but was quickly knocked out as Barcelona looked to take their squad to the next level. However, Garcia would taste success in the Champions League first, winning in 2005 and becoming a Liverpool legend in the process. He later even won an Indian Super League!
6. Samuel Eto’o
Time in Barcelona: 2004-2009
Trophies won since the start: Serie A 2009/10, Coppa Italia (2), Champions League 2009/10, Supercoppa Italiana 2010, FIFA Club World Cup 2010.
The dynamic and delusional dangerous Samuel Eto’o had a rocky relationship with Pep Guardiola and was therefore sold by the best team in the world after the Treble in 2009. Helped Inter win a hat-trick next season, knock out Barcelona on the way to win the Champions League. The only man in football history to win two consecutive trebles. A real king.
7. Villa David
Time in Barcelona: 2010-2013
Trophies won since the start: 2013/14 La Liga, Emperor’s Cup 2019.
David Villa was sold by Barcelona in 2013/14 for a shockingly low â¬ 5.1million and he helped Diego Simeone’s men win La Liga. He has since moved, including a stint at New York City FC before retiring to Vissel Kobe.
8. Thiago Alcantara
Time in Barcelona: 2005-2013
Trophies won since the start: 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, Bundesliga (7), DFB-Pokal (4), DFL-Supercup (3), Champions League 2019/20.
This kid was supposed to be Xavi and Iniesta’s heir, but the presence of Cesc Fabregas, the short-sightedness of the presidential regime and a manager unable to force the club to think properly while suffering from cancer have all meant that Thiago is gone. the Camp Nou. But he went to the best possible place: Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola. Since his departure, Thiago has won the title and has become one of the best midfielders in the world.
9. Cesc Fabregas
Time in Barcelona: 1997-2003 + 2011-2014
Trophies won since the start: EFL Cup 2014/15, Premier League (2), FA Cup 2017/18
Cesc left Barcelona once for Arsenal but there was obviously no ‘life after Barcelona’ as he yearned for a home comeback. And he went home, and he did fine. But Luis Enrique got rid of him as part of his cleanup and Arsenal turned him down for a comeback, so he had to go to Chelsea. It worked out well for Cesc as he won two titles in three years in blue.
10. Oriol Romeu
Time in Barcelona: 2004-2011
Trophies won since the start: FA Cup 2011/12, Champions League 2011/12
Oriol Romeu was a rising prospect at La Masia but never had the technical excellence to lower the score at Camp Nou. He moved to Chelsea where he was destined to grow Andre Villas-Boas, but was sacked in the middle of his first season. Romeu was still there when Chelsea won the Champions League, but his real career came after a move to Southampton, where he became a fixture and a rock solid Premier League midfielder.
11. Alex Grimaldo
Time in Barcelona: 2008-2015
Trophies won since the start: Primeira Liga (3), TaÃ§a da Liga 2015/16, TaÃ§a de Portugal 2016/17, SupertaÃ§a CÃ¢ndido de Oliveira (3)
This kid was supposed to be the next big thing at left-back, but Luis Enrique had no interest in making him into the first team so he was sent to Benfica. Instead of figuring it out all about it, he joined Benfica and won back-to-back league titles. He has since added one more and is a feared and respected full-back throughout Europe.
12. Adama Traore
Time in Barcelona: 2004-2015
Trophies won since the start: n / A
Born in the shadow of Camp Nou, Adama TraorÃ© should have been a Barcelona legend. Much like Grimaldo, however, Luis Enrique did not note it. He had to leave and unfortunately for him made some terrible decisions about where to go and really stalled his career. However, Tony Pulis got him back on track and then Nuno at Wolves really pushed him into the overdrive. Adama is now one of the most supernatural attacking forces in Europe, which still isn’t as good as it should have been, but it’s something!
13. Luis SuÃ¡rez
Time in Barcelona: 2014-2020
Trophies won since the start: 2020/21 Liga
Luis SuÃ¡rez was a key part of the legendary MSN strike force and was the best no. 9 in the world, but everyone is getting older and SuÃ¡rez’s decline was really noticeable. He had a colossal contract and was getting worse week by week, and with him and Messi in attack, the Blaugrana were way too slow. A change had to be made, so Barcelona opted to let SuÃ¡rez go.
Of course, being Bartomeu’s Barcelona, ââthey did it in the worst possible way, learning none of the lessons from the Laudrup, Eto’o and Villa sagas. Instead of giving him notice, treating him with respect and helping him find a new club where he could compete but would not be a direct threat, they tried to force him to go to other players. of FFP, Juventus. And when that didn’t work, they rejected him, leaving him to join AtlÃ©tico Madrid for nothing.
Well, in a younger, more athletic team surrounded by guys racing for him, and fueled by the hateful revenge of a thousand stars, SuÃ¡rez became good again (or rather, he was playing on a team that could downplay his faults and maximize its strengths). He was one of La Liga’s top scorers when he sacked Diego Simeone’s men to win La Liga and earlier, as Barcelona were at one of their lowest points since 2002, SuÃ¡rez stepped in to insert the dagger and confirm Atleti’s 2-0. victory.
Luis SuÃ¡rez has made it clear that there is life after Barcelona.