FC Barcelona Blast From The Past: The Ones Who Got Away

The object of Sandro Rosell's affection... Or obsession, take your pick

In the UEFA Champions League Final a few weeks ago, FC Barcelona fielded a starting 11 that included seven La Masia graduates (should have been eight, Puyol was injured). Nowadays, in an era where money rules, that is a remarkable achievement and a glowing review on the coaches, the scouts, everyone who is associated with La Masia. Everybody in the world pretty much knows this by now, that's why we've had to ward off English clubs from poaching our best prospects (sometimes successfully, sometimes not).  Like it or not though, not everyone of the kids will go on to star at the big club. Some kids get poached by other clubs, some kids get to play at the big club but don't succeed and move on.

Here are some of the players who found success with other clubs:

 

Cesc Fabregas

The focal point of arguments among Blaugrana fans, Fabregas moved to Arsenal from Catalonia in 2003 and has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the world and has taken on the captaincy for the London club. A very good passer and playmaker, has earned 58 caps for Spain and would be a starter if not for Barcelona maestro Xavi.

Pepe Reina

To some, the second best goalkeeper Spain has, which is some feat considering Spain has the best goalkeeping stable in the world (Casillas, Valdes, De Gea). Played 30 games in parts of three years for the big club, then moved to Villarreal and then to Liverpool, where he rose to be known among the world's best, winning the FA Cup and winning his first Spain cap with the club. Has manned the sticks for 215 games for the Reds.

Mikel Arteta

Very underrated player, never got to break into the first team at Barcelona. Went on loan to PSG, moved to Rangers and Real Sociedad before finally settling down at Everton. Easily Everton's best player as they were quietly overachieving during the middle part of the decade, but injuries have ruined his past few seasons. Remarkably, has not won a cap for Spain. 

Ivan De La Pena

The Little Buddha made his debut for Barcelona in 1995 and the unfortunate comparisons to Pep Guardiola began. And for a season, he looked like he would fill the void as he helped Barcelona win three trophies in the 1996/97 season. Unfortunately, he fell out of favor with Louis Van Gaal (shocker) and moved to a myriad of clubs before settling down at Barca's city rivals Espanyol. Recently retired due to injuries. 

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