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Team Spotlight: Barcelona B and the outcasts

Team Spotlight: Barcelona B and the outcasts

As in the previous Team Spotlight feature on Barcelona B, there have been many great players that have gone onto make a significant mark on the senior team.

Among these are Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi, all winning over 20 trophies for the club and becoming some of the best in their position in the world.

Yet, for all the successes, there are a lot more players who have failed to reach the hallowed heights and become stars for Barca.

Success away from Barca

Some end up becoming a success away from the daunting Nou Camp, others become journeymen and wonder how they went from being the next ‘big thing’ to struggling to find a club that will keep them.

In the former category, chief among them is Luis Garcia, who was a part of the historic Champions League success for Liverpool in 2005.

Although he did spend a full season in the Barcelona first-team, he had initially been sold by the club, despite making over 70 league appearances for the reserve side. Four different loan spells during his time at the Catalan club eventually saw him depart for Atletico Madrid.

Garcia returned a year later but then moved to England after just 12 months and became a favourite at Liverpool, claiming an FA Cup trophy as during his time on Merseyside.

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Mikel Arteta was another ex-Barcelona B star who made his in England. Following a temporary move to Paris Saint-Germain, the midfielder joined Scottish side Rangers in 2002. Although he impressed there, he eventually made his mark in his 11 years in the Premier League, first with Everton and then Arsenal.

During his time in England, it was often remarked that the Spaniard was one of the best players who never played internationally, with Barca duo Xavi and Iniesta starring La Roja at the time.

Journeymen

While it is possibly to taste success without earning a regular place for the Barca first team, there are those that appear to be talented in the second string, but ultimately are still looking to reach that top level.

Danish striker Thomas Christiansen, now manager at English Championship side Leeds United, was once a prolific goal scorer for the B team, netting 28 times in the league during his youth.

But, following three loan spells, he eventually left Barcelona after five years in the reserve side and went on to play at seven different clubs, including in Denmark, Greece and Germany. He eventually hung up his boots at the age of 33, retiring having scored just 77 league goals since leaving the Catalan outfit.

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More recently, Isaac Cuenca is the epitome of failing to reach their potential, having at one point being the next ‘big thing’ to come out of La Masia, Barcelona’s academy, so much so that he only featured five times for the second team, getting promoted almost immediately after a loan spell at Sabadell. At one point, he had been the target for Manchester United, but after earning just 30 appearances in all competitions for the senior side, he has struggled to settle at a club.

Cuenca has spent time at La Liga teams Deportivo La Coruña and Granada, Dutch outfit Ajax, Bursaspor in Turkey, and now is in Israel with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, spending no more than 18 months at any of them.

While there remain some players who are beginning to find their feet and still have the potential to reach the top away from Barcelona, like Alen Halilovic and Antonio Sanabria, for a majority, leaving the youth ranks at the Catalan club begins a journey where they will never fulfil the potential that they once showed.