When you think of success over the past decade, you think of Barcelona.
That’s just how good La Blaugrana have been between 2010 and 2019, starting the decade with Guardiola’s tiki-taka, following that with Luis Enrique’s treble winners, and ending it with more La Liga success under Ernesto Valverde.
This has probably been the most successful era in Barça’s history and so picking just 11 players from the hundreds who have donned their colours over the past ten years is tough.
But we’ve had a try here, so enjoy Barcelona’s team of the decade…
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – Arguably Barcelona’s best signing of the decade, Ter Stegen looks a steal at the £11m La Blaugrana paid for him back in 2014. Doubts always lingered over Victor Valdes when he was in the Barcelona goal in the Guardiola era. No such doubts have persisted with the German.
Dani Alves (RB) – The most decorated player in world football, Barcelona still haven’t really found a replacement for Dani Alves since he left back in 2016. The Brazilian re-invented the role of the modern full back, placing the onus more on attacking output than defensive solidity. With two Champions Leagues for Barça this decade, the 36-year-old is a club legend.
Gerard Pique (CB) – One of the constants throughout Barcelona’s immensely successful decade, Pique made his 500th appearance for the club this year. The 32 year-old was allowed to leave Manchester United by Sir Alex Ferguson, who believed Jonny Evans was the better player. After 29 trophies in 11 years at Camp Nou, it’s fair to say he proved Fergie wrong.
Carles Puyol (CB) – Although his best days were probably behind him by the time this decade came around, it’s a testament to how good Puyol was that he still makes this XI. The Catalan was one of the finest ball playing centre halves the world has ever seen, and will go down as a Barça legend.
Jordi Alba (LB) – The £12.6m Barcelona paid for Alba will probably go down as one of the best pieces of business in football ever. The left back made the tiki-taka masters even stronger than before, and his Champions League win in 2015 was well deserved. Another great attacking full back.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – Possibly the best deep lying playmaker the world has ever seen – though Andrea Pirlo might have something to say about that. The La Masia graduate somehow always finds space, and knows how to get Barcelona’s attacks going. A vital cog in the Guardiola machine, he has remained instrumental for Barça throughout the decade.
Andres Iniesta (CM) – What can we say that hasn’t already been said about Andres Iniesta? The little magician was at the top of his game before he left Camp Nou in 2018, and to be honest we don’t think we ever saw him give away the ball. He started the decade with Spain’s World Cup winning goal and ends it as a club and international legend.
Xavi (CM) – You almost feel sorry for Barcelona midfielders who have to play after the high standards set by Xavi Hernandez. They’ll just never be as good. A pass master, Xavi played at the highest level until the age of 35, ending his near-20 year Barça career as a Champions League winner in 2015.
Lionel Messi (RW) – In one of the most predictable things you’ll ever read, Messi makes it into the Barcelona team of the decade. He’d also undoubtedly make it into Barça’s all-time XI. He won another Ballon d’Or this year after netting just the 51 goals last season. Lad’s good, innit.
Luis Suarez (ST) – A rarity in this team in that Suarez was brought in for big money, rather than as a bargain or through the academy. But it’s fair to say that after his move from Liverpool in 2014, he more than delivered. The Uruguayan is the focal point Barça lacked under Tata Martino and Tito Vilanova. Oh, and by the way, he has 140 goals in 177 games. Not bad at all.
Neymar (LW) – Probably the most controversial name on this list due to the fact he left Camp Nou for PSG in 2017, Neymar was the final part of the famous MSN trio that tore up European football in the mid-2010s. Rumours are that Barça want him back to reform the attack that won them their last Champions League. We’d all like to see that.