Top Five Barcelona Signings Under Joan Laporta’s Presidency

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The dust has finally settled at Camp Nou, and Joan Laporta starts his second reign as the president of FC Barcelona. The Catalan takes over a club in financial troubles, and with a fan base who are eagerly anticipating a return to their glory days. Barcelona signings are typically grand whilst demonstrating intent, but of course, Laporta is no stranger to this situation and the subsequent pressure that brings. The Spaniard’s first reign had been a catalyst that sows the seeds to helping the club become one of the greatest teams in the history of the game.

It was during Laporta’s first term that Barcelona appointed the likes of Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola. A gamble that resulted in dominating the Domestic and European stages for almost a decade. The same time also saw Barcelona form one of the greatest teams in the history of football. During the Spaniards’ seven-year term, Barcelona won 12 major trophies, including multiple Champions League and La Liga titles.

While the majority of the first-team players who played for the Blaugrana came through the academy, there have been some Barcelona signings that have helped the club turn into the European powerhouse that the world has come to expect. That said, here are five of the signings made by Laporta that helped shape Barcelona’s dominance.

Five of the Most Influential Barcelona Signings Under Joan Laport

Eric Abidal

Eric Abidal had two different stints at Barcelona, one as a player and another as an administrator. The former French international joined Barcelona, under Laporta, in 2007 after a successful spell with Olympique Lyon. The defender, by then, had established himself as one of the best full-backs in Europe.

The timing of his arrival, though, coincided with one of Barcelona’s worst seasons in this millennium. Then manager Frank Rijkaard had barely guided Barcelona to a Champions League place and had finished almost 20 points behind arch-rivals and league winners Real Madrid.

The following season, though, saw the appointment of Pep Guardiola, and the rest is history. The Spaniard helped Barcelona become one of the most feared teams in the world. The likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Thierry Henry, Xavi, and many more formed one of the greatest teams the world has ever seen. During that period, Abidal established himself as one of the best in the business.

The Frenchman won 15 major titles, including two Champions League. But, a tumor in his liver curtailed his blossoming career. Abidal struggled towards his latter years. The defender was diagnosed with a tumor. Despite his health concerns, the defender managed to make 193 appearances and score two goals during a six-year spell at the Nou Camp.

Abidal left Barcelona in 2013 and retired from the game two years later. But, his association with the club only grew stronger following his retirement. The Frenchman became the ambassador of the club in 2017. A year later, Abdial took the job as the Sporting Director. Abidal’s time as the sporting director was short-lived. The Frenchman got the sack last season after Barcelona’s dismal performance, which also contained an 8-2 mauling by Bayern Munich.

Gerard Pique

Gerard Pique is one of the three remaining players from Laporta’s first tenure. The Spaniard left Barcelona just a year after Joan Laporta started his first tenure. Laporta, though, atoned his mistake and brought the defender back four years later in 2008. The signing proved to one of the pillars of Barcelona’s success for the decade to come.

Gerard Pique formed an indestructible wall in the Barcelona defence along with Carlos Puyol. In his returning season, the Barcelona-born defender helped the Blaugrana to their third Champions League title. The first season proved to be just a small step in building one of the best teams in the history of the game. With Pique at the heart of the defence, Barcelona have won eight La Liga titles, six Copa Del Reys, six Spanish Super Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, three Club World Cups, and three Champions League titles.

Like every great player at the twilight of their careers, age is slowly catching up with Pique. This season, the Spaniard has been very poor compared to his standards. And for the first time, he looks shaky at the heart of the defence. Despite his advancing age, Pique is still one of the most reliable defenders available today, further justifying his inclusion as one of the best Barcelona signings in the Joan Laporta era.

Dani Alves

One of the greatest right-backs the world has ever seen, was Dani Alves – another player who arrived along with Gerard Pique in 2008. The Brazilian arrived, at that time, at Camp Nou from Sevilla as one of the most expensive defenders in the history of the game.

The transfer fee soon felt more like a bargain as Dani Alves established himself as an indispensable part of the Catalan project. Laporta had truly unearthed a diamond. The Brazilian’s sizzling runs and offensive displays helped Barcelona turn into the offensive juggernaut that ruled world football.

Dani Alves helped Barcelona to 23 major titles during eight seasons at Camp Nou. The Brazilian finally left the club in 2016 after making 391 appearances and scoring 21 goals.

Samuel Eto’o

It is still a mystery why Barcelona let go of Samuel Eto’o when the Cameroonian was at the peak of his powers. The striker joined Barcelona just a year after Laporta took office following a scintillating season with Mallorca. Eto’o never really had the best of resumes for Barcelona after having played with Espanyol and Real Madrid, However, he soon proved himself and helped Barcelona to their first La Liga title in five seasons.

The striker went from strength to strength, helping Barcelona end a decade-long wait for the Champions League. Eto’o was at the top of his game for the five seasons he spent at Camp Nou. But in 2009, Laporta decided to sell the striker in a deal that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic join Barcelona. The deal ending up being more of a failure than anything and Samuel Eto’o proved his doubters wrong and helped Inter Milan to their first-ever treble.

In five seasons at the club, Samuel Eto’o made 199 appearances and scored 130 goals. He also won eight major titles, including two Champions League titles during his spell at the club. He goes down in the history of Laporta’s first tenure as one of the most bizarre transfer dealings made by the Catalonian.

Ronaldinho

Joan Laporta started his first reign at Barcelona by promising the transfer of then Manchester United winger David Beckham. But, the winger’s decision to join arch-rivals Real Madrid dented Laporta hopes of adding the glitz and glamour of Beckham to Camp Nou.

The failed transfer soon turned out to be a boon in disguise. The failure to sign Beckham saw Laporta turn his attention to a young Ronaldinho who was making waves in Europe. The signing proved to be the turning point for Barcelona.

Barcelona signings are tasked with the rather difficult mission to shine from day one and that is exactly what happened. Ronaldinho weaved his magic to help Barcelona back to the summit. The Brazilian helped the Catalan giants to La Liga, Spanish Super Cup, and Champions League titles. But, Ronaldinho’s time at the top of the summit was short-lived. The Brazilian’s party lifestyle and disciplinary issues, along with the rise of Lionel Messi, saw his time at Barcelona cut short.

Ronaldinho left Barcelona in 2008 as part of Pep Guardiola‘s grand plan to restructure the club. The Brazilian’s move shook the world but, the decision proved to be the right one in the long run. Despite his unauspicious exit, Ronaldinho is still revered by football fans alike for his time at the Catalan club. The Brazilian made 207 appearances and scored 94 goals, and always brought a smile to the audience.

 

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