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Poll reveals who fans think should have their numbers retired for Barcelona

While not possible due to league rules, it is an interesting thought experiment

FC Barcelona v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona will be turning 123 years old soon, as a thought experiment. Barcelona sports paper Diario SPORT has polled fans on which players deserve to have their numbers retired.

While not possible due to La Liga rules, it is a tradition in other sports such as handball and basketball to stop wearing the numbers of legendary players, such as, for example, the number 23 for the Chicago Bulls, once worn by Michael Jordan.

Retiring numbers is possible in football, particularly in the Italian Serie A. For example, Diego Maradona’s number was retired by Napoli.

In order to have your number retired, the player himself must usually be retired. However, this poll took active players into consideration. Afterwards, a 25 man squad based on positions was chosen.

Without further ado, here are the results.


Víctor Valdés (1) 32%

Andoni Zubizarreta (1) 29%

Antoni Ramallets (1) 19%

Valdés and Zubi practically run away with this category, though it’s funny to imagine what would happen if the number 1 was retired. Urruti and Marc-André ter Stegen missed out.


Carles Puyol (5) 21%

Gerard Piqué (3) 14%

Ronald Koeman (4) 14%

Alves (20, 2, 22, 6 and 8) 14%

Migueli (3) 8%

Jordi Alba (18) 7%

Carles Puyol was a clear winner, which had his number been retired, would’ve prevented Sergio Busquets from inheriting it. José Ramón Alexanco and Rafa Márquez missed the cutoff.


Andrés Iniesta (8) 16%

Xavi (6) 14%

Ronaldinho (10) 12%

Pep Guardiola (4) 12%

Sergio Busquets (16 or 5) 12%

Luis Enrique (21) 6%

Diego Maradona (10) 5%

Maradona as a midfielder is questionable enough, but you also have to wonder if he can really be called a club legend considering he only spent two years at the Camp Nou. Then again, the Miami Heat retired the number 23 in honor of Michael Jordan - and he never played for them! Still, José Mari Bakero, Michael Laudrup, and Luis Suárez Miramontes, who were ranked next, probably should’ve gotten that spot.


Lionel Messi (10) 14%

Johan Cruyff (14) 13%

László Kubala (7, 8, or 10) 10%

Hristo Stoichkov (8) 10%

Samuel Eto’o (9) 7%

Rivaldo (10 or 11) 7%

Romário (9 or 10) 6%

Luis Alberto Suárez (9) 10%

Quini (9 or 16) 5%

What a competitive category! And despite the picture showing Luis Suárez Miramontes in the results, the choice was actually the Uruguayan Luis Suárez. Oh well. David Villa and Carles Rexach almost made it, as did Hans Gamper, who perhaps should’ve made it on the strength of founding the club! César Rodríguez came next, and harshly, in my opinion, as he was the club’s leading scorer until a certain Messi passed him. As far as players snubbed by not being nominated, Paulino Alcántara surely tops the list. He played in the early 20th century though, so it’s hard to judge. But he did have the most goals of any Barcelona player including friendlies, once again, until Messi passed him.

So that’s the list! Obviously, a lot of numbers repeat, and there are questionable choices. View the full results here. Now, I want to hear from you: any choices you disagree with? What was the biggest snub? Who was the most deserving winner?

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