At Camp Nou, the dust has finally settled, and Joan Laporta begins his second term as president of FC Barcelona. The Catalan takes over a club that is in financial difficulty and has a fan base that is looking for a return to glory days. Barcelona's signings are generally grand gestures that display the club's intent, but Laporta is no stranger to this situation and the burden that comes with it. The Spaniard's first reign was a catalyst, sowing the seeds for the club to become one of the best in the game's history.
Barcelona hired the likes of Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola during Laporta's first term. A risk that paid off handsomely, with the team winning the domestic and European stages for nearly a decade. At the same time, Barcelona created one of the greatest football teams in history. Barcelona won 12 major trophies during their seven-year reign, including several Champions League and La Liga titles.
Although the majority of Barcelona's first-team players came through the academy, the club has made some notable signings that have helped it become the European powerhouse that the world has come to expect. Having said that, here are five of Laporta's signings that have aided Barcelona's supremacy.
Five of Joan Laporta's Most Influential Barcelona Signings
Eric Abidal spent two stints at Barcelona, one as a player and the other as a manager. After a promising spell with Olympique Lyon, the former French international joined Barcelona in 2007. By that time, the defender had established himself as one of Europe's best full-backs.
His arrival, on the other hand, coincided with one of Barcelona's worst seasons in the new millennium. Then-manager Frank Rijkaard had only just managed to get Barcelona into the Champions League, finishing nearly 20 points behind arch-rivals and league winners Real Madrid.
The following season, however, Pep Guardiola was selected, and the rest is history. Barcelona became one of the most hated teams in the world thanks to the Spaniard. Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Thierry Henry, Xavi, and a slew of other superstars created one of the greatest teams the world has ever seen. Abidal established himself as one of the best in the industry during that period.
The Frenchman was the winner of 15 major titles, including two Champions League titles. However, a tumor in his liver cut short his promising career. Abidal suffered as he neared the end of his life. A tumor was discovered in the protector. Despite his health issues, the defender made 193 appearances for the Nou Camp and scored two goals during his six-year stay.
Abidal left Barcelona in 2013, and two years later, he retired from the sport. Following his retirement, however, his ties to the club only grew deeper. In 2017, the Frenchman was named as the club's ambassador. Abdial was hired as the Sporting Director a year later. Abidal's tenure as sporting director was brief. Last season, the Frenchman was fired after Barcelona's poor performance, which included an 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich.
One of the three players from Laporta's first tenure is Gerard Pique. Joan Laporta had only been in charge of Barcelona for a year before the Spaniard resigned. Laporta, on the other hand, made amends by bringing the defender back four years later, in 2008. The signing will prove to be one of the cornerstones of Barcelona's success for the next decade.
Along with Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique formed an impregnable wall in the Barcelona defense. The Barcelona-born defender helped the Blaugrana secure their third Champions League title in his return season. The first season was just the beginning of what would become one of the greatest teams in the game's history. Barcelona has 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 with Pique at the heart of the defense.
Age is catching up with Pique, as it does with any great player approaching the end of his career. In contrast to his previous seasons, the Spaniard has been abysmal. For the first time in his career, he seems vulnerable at the heart of the defense. Despite his advanced age, Pique remains one of the most reliable defenders on the market today, confirming his status as one of Barcelona's best signings during the Joan Laporta period.
Dani , Alves
Dani Alves is a Brazilian footballer.
Dani Alves, another player who arrived with Gerard Pique in 2008, was one of the best right-backs the world has ever seen. The Brazilian was one of the most expensive defenders in the history of the game when he arrived at Camp Nou from Sevilla.
Dani Alves quickly established himself as an indispensable part of the Catalan project, making the transfer fee seem like a bargain. Laporta had really found a gem. Barcelona became the offensive juggernaut that controlled world football thanks to the Brazilian's scorching runs and offensive displays.
During his eight seasons at Camp Nou, Dani Alves helped Barcelona win 23 major titles. After 391 appearances and 21 goals, the Brazilian eventually left the club in 2016.
It's still a mystery why Barcelona let Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o go when he was at the top of his game. Following a spectacular season with Mallorca, the striker joined Barcelona barely a year after Laporta took office. After playing for Espanyol and Real Madrid, Eto'o didn't have the best of resumes when he joined Barcelona. However, he quickly established himself and helped Barcelona win their first La Liga title in five seasons.
The striker improved year after year, helping Barcelona eventually win the Champions League after a ten-year wait. During his five seasons at Camp Nou, Eto'o was at the peak of his game. However, in 2009, Laporta sold the striker to Barcelona in a deal that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic join the club. The deal was a disappointment in the end, but Samuel Eto'o proved his doubters wrong by helping Inter Milan win their first-ever treble.
Samuel Eto'o made 199 appearances and scored 130 goals in five seasons with the club. During his time at the club, he also won eight major trophies, including two Champions League titles. He will go down in the annals of Laporta's first term as one of the Catalan club's most bizarre transfer dealings
Joan Laporta began his first tenure at Barcelona by promising the transfer of David Beckham, then of Manchester United. The winger's decision to join arch-rivals Real Madrid, however, dashed Laporta's hopes of taking Beckham's glitz and glamour to Camp Nou.
The failed move ended up being a blessing in disguise. Laporta turned his attention to a young Ronaldinho who was making headlines in Europe after failing to sign Beckham. Barcelona's signing proved to be a watershed moment.
Barcelona newcomers are given the daunting task of shining from the start, and that is exactly what they did. Ronaldinho worked his magic to return Barcelona to the top of the table. The Brazilian was instrumental in the Catalan giants winning La Liga, the Spanish Super Cup, and the Champions League. Ronaldinho's reign at the summit, however, was short-lived. The rise of Lionel Messi, as well as the Brazilian party lifestyle and disciplinary problems, His stay in Barcelona was cut short.
Pep Guardiola's grand strategy to restructure Barcelona included Ronaldinho's exit in 2008. The Brazilian's decision shocked the world, but it turned out to be the right one in the end. Despite his untimely departure, Ronaldinho is remembered fondly by football fans for his time at the Catalan club. The Brazilian made 207 appearances for Brazil, scoring 94 goals and always putting a smile on the faces of the fans.
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