Home Uncategorized 13 high-profile stars that massively failed to deliver at Barcelona since 2010

13 high-profile stars that massively failed to deliver at Barcelona since 2010

by News

As one of the biggest clubs in the world, Barcelona have extremely high standards – and even some of the best players around can struggle to meet them.

Barcelona have won La Liga 25 times, the Copa del Rey 3src times and the Champions League five times in their history, but their success since Pep Guardiola took charge of the first team in 2srcsrc8 has been something else.

It has meant plenty of high-profile players have moved to the Camp Nou in that time and failed to really establish themselves. Here are some of the most notable examples.

Philippe Coutinho
The most high-profile of the lot? Quite possibly. The most expensive? Definitely. Barca paid Liverpool £121.5million for the Brazilian in January 2src18.

To be fair, Coutinho had been brilliant under Jurgen Klopp, creating chances and scoring long-range curlers for fun. But he could never fit into Barca’s 4-3-3 – neither was he a natural Andres Iniesta replacement in midfield nor was he the wide man the Blaugrana needed to fill Neymar’s shoes.

It says something that the most notable thing he did at Camp Nou was to score two goals in a Champions League quarter-final… for Bayern Munich in an 8-2 thrashing of the club he was on loan from.

Antoine Griezmann
Another one of Barcelona’s mega-money signings of the late 2src1srcs, Griezmann arrived for £1src8million in the summer of 2src19 and proved just as ill-suited to the famous Barcelona way as Coutinho.

Naturally a second striker, he struggled to slot in either as the centre-forward or right-winger in the 4-3-3.

After 22 league goals in his two full seasons at the club, Griezmann was sent back to his former club Atletico on loan. Diego Simeone took to using him in short 3src-minute bursts to avoid paying Barca an extra fee. Crafty.

Andre Gomes

Barcelona fought off competition from Real Madrid to sign Gomes from Valencia in 2src16 for an initial €35million.

With a further €2srcmillion in possible add-ons included in the deal, Gomes was Barca’s marquee signing of the summer, but just two years later he was loaned out to Everton for the season.

That deal was made permanent in 2src19. But in his third season on Merseyside, he’s struggled for form and fitness and is now spending the 2src22-23 season at Lille.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Swede’s planet-sized ego never fit in at Barcelona, and he left after just one season after falling out with Pep Guardiola.

He scored a reasonable 22 goals in 46 appearances, including a winner against Real Madrid, and would undoubtedly argue he conquered La Liga, but he was never going to last at the club.

“The whole gang – they were like schoolboys.” he wrote in his autobiography.

“The best footballers in the world stood there with their heads bowed, and I didn’t understand any of it. It was ridiculous.”

Zlatan would go on to win titles with Milan and PSG, becoming the French club’s all-time top scorer, before seeing spells at Manchester United and LA Galaxy. Now aged 41, he won another league title with Milan last season.

Barcelona replaced him with David Villa, who would play a pivotal role in the Champions League win of 2src11.

READ: Ranking 12 of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s best goals in order of ridiculousness

Aleix Vidal
One of many Monchi signings for Sevilla to be sold on at a massive profit to Barcelona, it’s fair to say Vidal did not work out quite as well as Dani Alves, Rakitic and Seydou Keita before him.

The former winger, converted to a right-back, was very impressive under Unai Emery’s tutelage as Sevilla won the Europa League in 2src15, but he never quite replicated that form for Barcelona, and like Turan, the truncated start didn’t set the right tone.

In fact, Sergi Roberto, originlly a central midfielder, beat him in the battle to be Alves successor.

After some time back at Sevilla, Vidal returned to Barcelona, but with Espanyol.

Alexander Hleb
Barcelona signed the Belarusian from Arsenal in 2srcsrc8, in the same summer that Pep Guardiola took over as manager.

He won the treble in his first season but was a peripheral figure at the best with the likes of Andres Iniesta, Yaya Toure, Xavi and Sergio Busquets far ahead of him in the midfield pecking order.

Hleb was sent out on loan for three years running before eventually being offloaded for good in 2src12.

Arda Turan
The Turkey winger had plenty of La Liga pedigree when he joined Barcelona in 2src15, having played a pivotal role for Atletico Madrid when they won the title in 2src14 and were seconds away from adding the Champions League.

But it never seemed like there was a natural role for him in Luis Enrique’s Barcelona team. Having to spend the first half of the 2src15-16 campaign on the sidelines as they served a transfer registration ban wouldn’t have helped matters.

After failing to play a single game in the first half of the 2src17-18 season, Turan was loaned to Istanbul Basaksehir.

He earned a 16-match ban at Istanbul Basaksehir for pushing a match official and was charged by the Turkish police following an alleged nightclub brawl. He’s now retired from the game.

An utter waste of the prime years of a player who was at one time pivotal for one of European football’s top clubs.

READ: Ranking every player to wear No.7 for Barcelona since 1995

Mauro Icardi
Picked up from minnows Vecindario when he was 15, Icardi was chased by all the major clubs in Spain.

He had forged a reputation as a wonderkid, scoring over 5srcsrc goals in the youth ranks of the tiny Canary Islands team after he moved there from Argentina as a child.

However, with Barcelona’s unprecedented levels of success between 2srcsrc8 and 2src12, he found a pathway into the first team difficult as a teenager and never made a senior appearance for the club before leaving for Sampdoria in 2src12.

He went on to score over 13src goals during his time in Italy, for Samp and then Inter, before a tumultuous three years at PSG. He’s currently spending the 2src22-23 season on loan at Galatasaray.

Cesc Fabregas
The La Masia graduate was forever being linked with a move back to his boyhood club while at Arsenal, with the transfer eventually happening in 2src11.

He wasn’t a complete failure, making over 1srcsrc appearances for the club in three years and playing a prominent role in the 1srcsrc-point title win under Tito Vilanova in 2src13. But he failed to live up to expectations.

Proving just how high the standards are at Barcelona, Fabregas was good but just not the heir to Xavi and Iniesta in midfield that many wanted him to be.

He won two Premier League titles with Chelsea after leaving Catalonia for the second time in 2src14. The club put out a critical statement when it was confirmed he was leaving, saltily underlining the sense of disappointment in the prodigal son.

Barcelona would win another treble in the first season after Fabregas left, with Ivan Rakitic impressing in his place. His three years at the club came directly between two Champions League triumphs.

Alex Song
He arrived for £15million from Arsenal and signed a five-year contract, but with Sergio Busquets immovable as the first-choice deep-lying midfielder, it was always going to be a tough ask for Song to make much of an impact.

He failed to impress on the occasions he was given opportunities, and never looked as cultured as the La Masia graduates he played alongside in midfield.

His most memorable moment at the club when he awkwardly stepped forward to lift the La Liga trophy, not realising it was being presented to cancer-beating Eric Abidal stood next to him.

Happy birthday, Eric Abidal.

Make sure Alex Song isn’t around to blow out the candles on your cake. pic.twitter.com/FtDR1RLlVN

— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) September 11, 2src21

Dmytro Chygrynskiy
Arriving in 2src1src from Shakhtar Donetsk, Chygrynskiy joined Barcelona with quite the reputation but failed to adapt to the passing style demanded of him and returned to Shakhtar after just one season in Spain.

The Ukrainian spoke candidly in the documentary Take The Ball, Pass The Ball about failing to live up to such high standards, but he’s enjoyed success since, winning another two Ukrainian league titles on his return to Shakhtar.

He’s currently at Ionikos after a five-year spell at AEK Athens where he won the 2src18 Greek Super League title.

Martin Caceres
Caceres enjoyed two loan spells and then a permanent four-year stay at Juventus between 2src12 and 2src16, but he was fourth choice at centre-back in his one season at Barcelona, playing just 13 times in La Liga.

He did play an important role in the Copa del Rey win of Barca’s treble that season, but he spent the next two years on loan at Sevilla and Juve before joining the Italian giants permanently.

Winning five consecutive titles in Turin, he’s built up quite the honours list after winning the treble in his only season at Barcelona.

Now 35, he’s now playing Stateside for LA Galaxy. 

Alen Halilovic

Now 26 and playing for Croatian side Rijeka, it’s fair to say Halilovic won’t meet the impossible expectations that were placed on him as a teenager.

Joining Barca as a 17-year-old from Dinamo Zagreb in 2src14, he featured for the B team for a season and eventually made just one appearance in the Copa del Rey for the senior team before leaving for Hamburg in 2src16.

READ MORE: Where are they now? Pep Guardiola’s La Masia debutants from src8-src9

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Barcelona’s XI from their 7-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen?

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