Compare the XI Laporta inherited from Barca’s first presidency to the one he left
Joan Laporta is back as Barcelona president, and we’re ready for the whole race if his last term was anything to happen.
The charismatic Barcelona-born lawyer last served as president for seven full seasons between 2003 and 2010, with the club winning four league titles and two Champions Leagues during this time.
We looked at the first starting XI during his initial presidency, a 1-0 away win at Athletic Bilbao in 2003, and compared him to the squad that celebrated the La Liga title victory. 2009-10 with a total of 99 points after fighting. Real Valladolid 4-0.
Victor Valdès – Victor Valdès
Such was the longevity of the goalkeeper at his childhood club, nearly 20 years of Valdes, from youth training to the senior squad, have seen six different presidents in charge of the club.
He has also played under six different managers since his debut in August 2002, before leaving in the summer of 2014, as the Luis Enrique era began with two new faces competing for a place between the sticks with Marc-Andre ter Stegen finally victorious Claudio Bravo.
Michael Reiziger – Dani Alves
Part of Louis Can Gaal’s seminal Ajax squad, Reiziger reunited with his Dutch compatriot at Camp Nou in 1997.
He won two back-to-back league titles in his first two years at the club, but another five trophy-less years would follow, as Barcelona entered the 2000s with a fallow period.
Former Ajax teammate Frank Rijkaard – with whom he started alongside the 1995 Champions League final, a famous 1-0 win over Milan – regularly used the right-back during his debut season in charge before being cleared to leave for Steve McClaren’s Middlesbrough in the summer of 2004.
Juliano Belletti, Damia and Gianluca Zambrotta appeared at right-back in the following years before Alves came to define the post, arriving in the same summer as Guardiola and winning 13 major honors in eight years of success at the club.
The signing of the Brazilian in 2008 was a real triumph for the Laporta presidency.
Carles Puyol – Carles Puyol
El Tiburon (‘The Shark’) will always enjoy legendary status in the only club he has ever represented.
Since his retirement in 2014, he remains a leading voice on all Barcelona issues, and the former center-half was seen voting in the 2021 presidential elections in Barcelona.
Puyol went on to congratulate Laporta – under whom he had the most successful years of his 15-year career – on his return to power.
Visca el Barça. Avui I semper! 💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/HvONN3EMJM
– Carles Puyol (@ Carles5puyol) March 7, 2021
Phillip Cocu – Gérard Pique
Part of a large Dutch contingent at the turn of the century, Cocu left alongside Reiziger, Patrick Kluivert and Marc Overmars in the summer of 2004, while Edgar Davids returned to Italy after a successful mid-season loan.
Barcelona didn’t earn a dime for either of them, but they helped make room for the arrival of Samuel Eto’o, Deco, Sylvinho and Ludovic Giuly.
Cuckold was the team’s captain often during his year in Rijkaard’s service, and although he served primarily as a midfielder, his versatility saw him move into center-back for the victory to Sam Mames. He scored the winner of the match on this occasion, putting himself after a cross from Ronaldinho.
Gerard Pique, 16, was still in the youth ranks at that time before spending four years at Manchester United. Laporta and Guardiola brought him back for £ 5million in the summer of 2008 – and the rest is history.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst – Eric Abidal
Van Bronckhorst made his La Liga debut in the Bilbao victory, having originally been on loan from Arsenal, which marked the start of his period of adjustment from midfielder to left-back.
A permanent move was sealed a year later, and two league titles and the Champions League quickly followed.
Abidal was recruited from Lyon to replace him in the summer of 2007, and the French would become a mainstay of the Guardiola era.
Xavi – Sergio Busquets
In his sixth season since graduating from La Masia in 1998, Xavi was not even a third of the way to his successful Barcelona career in 2003.
The legendary midfielder has reportedly turned down an approach to managing his former club in 2020, apparently amid concerns about the board. The idea of reuniting with a president under whom he won 11 silverware as a player may be more appealing – so watch this space.
Academy graduate Busquets would later make hundreds of midfield appearances alongside Xavi, having first been promoted from Team B by Guardiola.
Gérard – Yaya Touré
Joining Barcelona at the turn of the century, squad player Gerard Lopez made 91 La Liga appearances in his five years with the club. He left for Monaco in 2005, but returned as a coach a decade later and was manager of the B team for three years.
Touré, brought in from Monaco in 2007, continued his rise to stardom during the first two years of Guardiola’s reign before being sold for £ 24million to Manchester City in 2010.
Luis Enrique – Seydou Keita
Spain international Luis Enrique retired at the end of the 2003-04 season, ending a career that saw him make more than 200 appearances for Real Madrid and more than 300 for Barcelona. By the time he returned as manager 10 years later, only Xavi and Andres Iniesta (both notable absent from the Valladolid beating in 2010) remained.
Malian midfielder Keita’s four years at the club coincided with Guardiola, who arrived alongside Alves from Sevilla when Pep took over from Rijkaard in 2008. He made 188 appearances under the Catalan coach, winning 14 trophies.
Ronaldinho – Lionel Messi
Laporta had led his presidential campaign by promising the signing of David Beckham. He was never able to deliver that, but getting Ronaldinho worked out pretty well in the end.
The Brazilian made his Camp Nou debut with a midnight kickoff against Sevilla, but his first competitive appearance for the club came in San Mames the week before. The Cuckold winner’s free kick set the tone for what was to come.
Breathtaking fun at its peak, Ronaldinho won the Ballon d’Or in 2005, helping his club win back-to-back league titles and the Champions League, but he started to wane amid suggestions of liking Barcelona’s nightlife a little too much.
“I want you to meet the player who will be the greatest player who ever lived,” he reportedly told Kobe Bryant, when introducing the basketball star to teenage Messi at the time. Not a bad cry.
🗣 “I don’t consider myself the greatest player in Barça history because it’s Ronaldinho. He wasn’t just passing the ball, he was passing the torch to me.”
Lionel Messi’s first goal for Barcelona was special for several reasons! 🐐pic.twitter.com/CX3uvsjedW
– 90min (@ 90min_Football) July 30, 2020
Ricardo Quaresma – Pedro
Over the years, it has been suggested that the Barcelona scouts leaned on the rising stars of Sporting Lisbon and opted for Quaresma ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. An early misstep by the Laporta presidency, then.
The former Portuguese international made wonderful things on a soccer field, but few of them have come to Barcelona in a year to forget. It was one of 10 La Liga starts for the club before returning to Portugal, signing for Porto a year later.
Pedro, like Busquets, was bred by Guardiola in Team B and really made his mark in the 2009-10 campaign. He scored his 23rd goal this season in the 4-0 win over Valladolid, which remains his career best result to date.
Javier Saviola – Bojan Krkic
Argentina striker Saviola scored 49 goals in 123 La Liga appearances for Barcelona, but he was loaned to Monaco and Sevilla during their winning years in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and had no silverware. to show during his four years in Catalonia.
Bojan, meanwhile, was selected ahead of Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Iniesta for the final round victory over Valladolid. At this point in his career, he probably hadn’t planned on spending five years on the Stoke City books.