BARCELONA has produced some of the most amazing talents the footballing world has ever seen. The La Masia academy has nurtured the likes of Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta. The club's commitment to developing talent has led the club to achieve long-term success. Barcelona’s most successful manager Pep Guardiola was also a product of La Masia, but in recent times Barcelona has focussed more on hunting talent from other clubs. This has led to some astronomical transfer fees being paid.
Barcelona has bought players from multiple clubs but in the last decade, it has benefited most from one club, in particular, Liverpool. Barcelona’s biggest stars Suarez and Mascherano were all once part of Liverpool's squad. Their recent acquisition, Philipe Coutinho who was bought for a staggering £145 million was also a Liverpool product.
Barcelona president Jordi Mestre suggested that the signing of Philippe Coutinho won't be the last time the Catalan club will be coming to fish for their talents, raising questions over Salah’s future at the Anfield. Here are the three biggest players Barcelona have stolen from Liverpool in recent times.
3# Javier Mascherano
Mascherano had initially signed a four-year deal with the Blaugrana but ended up staying for 7 years with the Catalan outfit. Barcelona spent £25 million on getting “The Little Chef” to their side. The Argentinian International had won 4 La Liga titles and two Champions League titles with the side. The defensive midfielder is known for his ability to read the game and organize the defense. His tactical awareness had saved Barcelona on many occasions.
During his time at Anfield Maschareno enjoyed the love and support of all the fans. The fans loved him enough to give him his own song, set to the tune of the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" which was often sung during the match. His move to Barcelona in 2010 had left the fans heartbroken. This marked the beginning of the many players Liverpool would lose to Barcelona in the future.
2# Luis Suarez
Suarez’s move to Barcelona took place in the backdrop of a FIFA ban against the Uruguayan for biting Italian defender Chiellini during a World Cup match. Suarez had previously played for Liverpool before his move to Barcelona. He was one of the most successful Liverpool strikers. He had scored 82 goals in 110 appearances for the Reds. He was ranked number one in "Europe's most influential player" list of the year by Bloomberg ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi. Suarez was part of Barcelona’s much-feared attacking trident consisting of Messi, Neymar and himself. The trio was called the MSN. The technically gifted player has scored more than 140 goals in 178 appearances for the Catalan side. He has been the most successful player Barcelona have ever signed from Liverpool. Liverpool’s inability to hold on to the striker has prevented them from reaching their Europen ambitions. In terms of value, Barcelona has hit the jackpot.
1# Philippe Coutinho
Brazilian winger Philippe Coutinho was bought by Liverpool for £8.5 million when he was just 20 years old. His vision and passing kept the opposition on their toes. His dribbling skills and long-range shots silenced the crowd many a time. This earned him the nickname ‘The Little Magician’. Coutinho had the complete support of the fans and teammates. His time at the Anfield saw him transition from a talented youngster to a world-class winger.
Barcelona was immediate to recognize Coutinho’s potential and made sure that the Brazilian would move to Barcelona before any other Club gets their hands on him. Liverpool tried their best to not let go of their precious winger, but Barcelona’s offer of a £142 million was irrefutable. The youngster’s future would be closely watched as only time can tell if his price tag is justifiable.
The Bottom Line
Barcelona's continuous raid on Liverpool's players has eroded the side's talent. Its high time that Liverpool find a way to protect its players from the Catalan Giants as failure to do so could lead to a potential crisis at the Anfield.
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