Twenty players who at one point or another played for FC Barcelona have made it onto FourFourTwo’s “100 best football players of all time” list, including the top two on the list. One current player was also featured further down the list.
Lionel Messi was ranked as the best player ever by the prestigious magazine.
“The history books will laud Messi, and yet their limitations will do him a disservice. In 20 years, young football fans will read about a messianic figure whose brilliance stunned the world, shattered a litany of records and started an era of dominance… but not until they watch the videos will they get an idea of what they have missed,” the magazine states.
Diego Maradona, a fellow Argentine, occupies the #2 spot. While Maradona is known primarily for playing for the Argentine national taem, Napoli, and various clubs in Argentina (notably Boca Juniors), he did have a brief spell at Barcelona.
At #6, one finds Johan Cruyff. The Dutchman made a huge impression as both a player and later as a coach for the Catalan club. Ronaldo Nazario rounds up the top 10. His stay at Barcelona was brief but it was massive, as he set a league scoring record only surpassed by Messi later.
Another Brazilian striker, Romario, is at #18. He was a key piece of some of the best Barcelona teams of all time. Andrés Iniesta and Barcelona’s current manager, Xavi, occupy the 20th and 24th places on the list. The two found untold success in what many consider the greatest club side ever, and also won the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Ronaldinho sits at #26. He had a peak few other players could reach while at Barça, but his relative lack of longevity hurt his standing on the list.
Luis Suárez Miramontes (the Spanish forward of yesteryear, not the Uruguayan) comes in at #36, and the Danish star Michael Laudrup got the 39th position.
Thierry Henry, who is mostly identified with Arsenal and France, but won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona, was placed #49. Johan Neeskens, another Dutch superstar, comes in at 65th.
Barcelona’s previous coach, Ronald Koeman, comes in at #70. He was famous for scoring many goals as a defender, notably one that won Barcelona’s first Champions League title.
The legendary Dani Alves, who left the club in the last transfer window, was placed at #73. Allan Simonsen was ranked 87th, the second Dane to play for Barcelona to be on the list.
Sergio Busquets comes in at #88. The club’s captain is the only current Barcelona player on the list.
Two famous goalscorers, Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria) and Sándor Kocsis (Hungary) come in at #89 and #93. Luis Figo is next at #94, though these days he is known mostly for playing for Real Madrid in a highly controversial switch.
Finally, the talented attacking midfielder Gică Hagi is at the end of the list at #100. He played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, among many other clubs.