Top 15 Players That Never Made It At Barcelona

With a long and illustrious history, Barcelona are one of the most successful teams in club football. With the club's standing in the game, it should be obvious that it can attract the very best players from around the globe. Barcelona have fielded the likes of Ronaldinho, Neymar, Michael Laudrup and Maradona to name but a few, but it really is at the club's youth academy where the club really comes into its own.

Since the academy was set-up, numerous players have graduated to become key members of the first team. In 2010, three of those players were short-listed for the Ballon d’Or, an award which was won for a record fifth time by Leo Messi just last month.

Of course, not all academy members can go on to have the successes of Pep Guardiola, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Leo Messi - some inevitably fall by the wayside.

Money is also no object for the Catalans - according to a recent Forbes study, Barcelona are the second richest team in the world behind rivals Real Madrid, being valued at $3.17 billion. Obviously, a large part of their revenue is set aside for player transfers, but not all are successful as was the the case with the £30 million signing of Marc Overmars in 2000.

With all of Barcelona's successes on and off the pitch, we thought we'd show that not everything is perfect at the club and put together a list of players that didn't quite make in the famous blue and red colors.

14 Mikel Arteta 

Despite being from the Basque country in the north of Spain, Mikel Arteta joined La Masia as a 15-year-old. The midfielder was relatively successful in the Barcelona B team before joining Paris Saint-Germain on loan in December 2000.

Although Barcelona wanted to keep the midfielder on his return to Catalonia, Arteta decided to taste British football for the first time with Glasgow Rangers - winning the treble in his first season in Scotland.

13 Oriol Romeu 

Current Southamption defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu is a graduate of the famed La Masia academy. He managed just one first-team game under Pep Guardiola before being sold to Chelsea for £3.45 million in the summer of 2011.

Romeu found his chances in London limited and was sent out for loan stints at Valencia and Stuttgart before returning to Stamford Bridge. Just weeks after arriving back in London, the Spaniard was on the move again - this time to the south coast with Southampton.

12 Giovani dos Santos  

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mexican Giovani dos Santos won the Bronze Ball in the 2007 Under-20 World Cup and Silver Ball at the 2005 Under-17 World Cup, so he was naturally expected to be a big star of the future at Barcelona.

The midfielder/forward had all the attributes to succeed, tremendous skill, excellent vision and an eye for goal, but his chances were limited at the club before Pep Guardiola sold him to Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.

11 Iván de la Peña 


At 19 years old, de la Peña was earmarked as the natural successor to Josep Guardiola in the Barcelona midfield. After breaking into the first-team in 1993, it looked like he would make it, however, he gradually fell out of favor with Johan Cruyff and was dropped.

De la Peña flourished under the leadership of Bobby Robson once he replaced Cruyff and alongside Ronaldo became a key member of the team that won a treble of cups in 1997.

Sadly for many Barcelona fans, de la Peña was sold to Lazio for £10.88 million after the arrival of Louis van Gaal at the club, meaning that he made just 77 appearances for the club.

Israeli midfielder Gai Assulin became the youngest player to represent the Israeli national team when he made his debut at just 16 years old. Much was expected of the player after joining Barcelona's famed academy La Masia at the age of 12, but, unfortunately, he left the club having failed to make a single first team appearance.

10 Geovanni 


The midfielder was signed from Brazilian club Cruzeiro for £15.75 million in January 2002. Geovanni had problems with consistency and in 41 appearances for Barcelona, the player scored just two goals - a poor return on such an investment.

Since leaving Barcelona, the Brazilian turned out for no less than eight clubs before retiring in 2013.

9 Sergio Garcia 

Two-time Spanish international Sergio Garcia had a great record with Barcelona B scoring 34 goals in 60 appearances before leaving for pastures new after finding his chances with the senior team limited with players like Ronaldinho, Patrick Kluivert and Henrik Larsson taking the limelight.

Garcia first headed out on loan before signing permanently with Real Zaragoza, and later representing Real Betis and captaining Barcelona city rivals Espanyol.

8 Isaac Cuenca 

Although the young forward made 30 first team appearances for Barca, a series of serious injuries hampered his time at the club. As part of his recovery Cuenca was loaned to Ajax where he just made five appearances.

In July 2014, Barcelona allowed the forward to join Deportivo La Coruña on a free transfer. He featured regularly for the club as they avoided relegation but was still allowed to leave at the end of the campaign.

7 Ricardo Quaresma 


Quaresma joined Barcelona from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 after impressing the clubs scouts with some electrifying performances in the Portuguese league. However, the youngster's career in Catalonia never really 'kicked-off' under manager Frank Rijkaard.

After falling out with his coach, the Portuguese announced that he would not play for the club as long as Rijkaard was in charge and went back to Portugal with Porto after Euro 2004.

6 Philippe Christanval 


Signed as Lilian Thuram's long-term replacement in 2001, Christanval ,who signed from French Ligue 1 side Monaco, was a massive failure at the club. At £12.75 million, Christanval wasn't a cheap signing and a lot was expected of him, but he failed to adapt to the high pressing game that Louis van Gaal deployed.

5 Mauro Icardi 

Current Internazionale captain and Argentinian international, Mauro Icardi played in the Barcelona junior teams from 2008-2011 before joining Sampdoria in Serie A. Icardi initially joined Sampdoria on loan, but, after impressing, he joined permanently for just £225,000 after the Italians took up an option to sign him in the contract.

Perhaps Icardi is one that got away from Barcelona as at still only 22-years-old, he has forged himself a reputation as a prolific striker during his time in Italy. According to transfermarkt, his market value is now up to £24 million and Barca must regret their decision to let him go.

4 Bojan Krkic 

Out of all the La Masia graduates in recent years, none have been a bigger disappointment than Bojan Krkic. The forward broke on the scene as a 17-year-old, becoming the youngest player in history to score for the first-team.

Unfortunately for the youngster, Bojan struggled to cope up with the pressures of first-team duties at Barcelona, so he left the club for Serie A team Roma in 2011 for a fee of £9 million.

3 Gerard Deulofeu 

Supremely talented winger Gerard Deulofeu failed to secure enough playing time at Barcelona after breaking into the first team as a teenager. His direct wing-play has made him one of the brightest youngsters in the European game, so it was a strange decision for the club to let him go.

The Catalonia native first broke onto the scene after several dazzling displays for the Barcelona B team and made his first-team debut against Mallorca in 2011. Sadly, he only managed six outings for Barcelona before loan moves to Everton and Sevilla respectively.

2 Pepe Reina 

Pepe Reina is perhaps another that got away from Barcelona after playing in the first team during the early part of his career. The goalkeeper got his chance in the first team after injuries to the two first choices and subsequently made 41 appearances during his time with the club.

Reina was allowed to leave the club for Villareal as a 20-year-old after Blaugrana signed the late Robert Enke from Benfica. Reina played at Villareal for three seasons before being signed by Rafael Benítez's Liverpool in 2005.

1 Javier Saviola 


Javier Saviola was supposed to become the next Maradona, but in reality, he only shared his nationality with one of the game's greatest players. The Argentine was signed from River Plate for a huge sum of money - £26.93 million in 2001 making him one of Barcelona's most expensive flops.

Although his career started well after scoring 17 La Liga goals in his first season, Saviola's form started to wane in his second. Perhaps it was a change in management, but he soon found himself out of Camp Nou with loan moves at Monaco and Sevilla.

In July 2007, the striker was allowed to join Barcelona's biggest rivals in Real Madrid on a free transfer!

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Top 15 Players That Never Made It At Barcelona