While Real Madrid may have the most La Liga titles in history, FC Barcelona is right at the top in terms of prestige. Barca has fans all over the world thanks to the many elite players who have been part of the club’s rosters over the years. Out of those roughly 1,000 men who have suited up for Barca, which ones are the best?
Though it’s not easy to pick just five, we felt that these men were truly the best in Barcelona’s prestigious history. Before we start the list, some of the men who just missed the cut include Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Ronaldinho, Johan Cruyff, and Cesar Rodriguez.
The first player on the list spent his youth career with several different organizations, but in 2005 he joined Barcelona as a teenager. Two years later, Sergio Busquets made his professional debut and would remain part of the club for many, many years to come. Busquets crossed over 700 appearances in 2022 and moved into third on the all-time list for Barcelona.
Busquets was part of more than a dozen La Liga and Copa del Rey title winners, and he helped Barcelona win the UEFA Champions League three times. Busquets has won the Bravo Award, La Liga’s Breakthrough Player Award, and several other honours throughout his long and illustrious career. Playing mainly defense, Busquets hasn’t netted many goals but does have over 10 total.
One of just two non-Spaniards on the list, Luis Suarez hails from Uruguay and played for several professional teams before making his way to Barcelona. Suarez made 110 appearances each for Ajax and Liverpool, joining Barca in 2014 where he would remain for six years. During that time, Suarez became one of the club’s most prominent all-time scorers.
Suarez needed just 283 matches to score 198 goals, the third-most in club history. Suarez won four La Liga and Copa del Rey titles during his tenure with Barcelona, as well as to Spanish Super Cups and a UEFA Champions League title. The four-time La Liga Player of the Month left in 2020 to join Atletico Madrid before heading to Nacional and Gremio.
At just 13 years old, Andres Iniesta joined the Barcelona youth program and made his professional debut in 2001. The following year, he joined the top Barca squad, and he would be part of the club for 16 more years. Iniesta played in more matches for Barcelona than all but three men, making 679 total appearances. As a midfielder, he wasn’t a perennial goal-scorer but made a huge difference on the pitch.
Iniesta, during the peak of his career, was one of the top players in the world as he finished in the top three of the Ballon d’Or voting twice. Barcelona won La Liga nine times with Iniesta on the roster, as well as four UEFA Champions League titles. He was named La Liga’s Best Midfielder five times in addition to his many other individual accomplishments.
Born Xavier Hernandez Creus in Terrassa, Spain, those around the world came to know him simply as Xavi. Like Iniesta, Xavi was one of the greatest midfielders in European history and spent most of his career playing for Barcelona. After more than a decade with the youth program, Xavi was part of the B-squad in the late 1990s before making his top squad debut in 1998.
Xavi is second in Barcelona’s history in matches played with 779, and he helped Barca lift the La Liga title eight times. Xavi also won the Copa del Rey three times and took home four EUFA Champions League titles. As an individual, he was named the La Liga Midfielder of the Year three times and was the Spanish Player of the Year overall in 2005.
Of course, the top spot on the list goes to the second non-Spaniard on the list, and that’s Argentina native Lionel Messi. Considered perhaps the greatest football player of all time, it only makes sense that he’s the top player in Barcelona’s history. In 2000, Messi joined Barca’s youth program and was promoted to the top squad in 2004. He spent 17 years on the roster until joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2021.
Messi holds just about every Barcelona record, including match appearances and goals. Messi netted 672 goals during his Barca career, putting him 440 ahead of anybody else. With Messi, Barcelona won La Liga 10 times while he won the Ballon d’Or for the world’s top player a whopping seven times. In fact, there are many more accomplishments for Messi, but it would take a long time to mention them all.