In the latest edition of FourFourTwo's ongoing series, we've tracked down the members of Barcelona's class of 2005-06, responsible for ending the club's 14-year wait for the Champions League trophy.
Under Frank Rijkaard's leadership, Barcelona slowly reasserted themselves in Spain, winning La Liga in the 2004-05 season with a team featuring the likes of Ronaldinho, Deco, Carles Puyol and Samuel Eto'o.
The attacking verve with which they played and the wealth of talent in the Catalans' squad – with present stalwarts Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi not yet fully-fledged members – made them the choice of neutrals, but the question remained whether they could translate their promise into actual results in the Champions League.
Such doubts were put to bed when Barcelona swept to victory in Europe's premier club competition in 2006, overcoming the likes of Chelsea and AC Milan to face Arsenal in the final in Paris. Arsene Wenger's men took the lead, but the Spanish champions roared back to win 2-1.
Eto'o and Juliano Belletti struck in the second half to cancel out Sol Campbell's opener for the 10-man Gunners, therefore writing themselves into the club's history with only their second-ever Champions League success.
Words by Kenneth Ho, Jeremy Lim, Dhaliwal A.S. and Jason Chua
For the best part of 14 years, Valdes enjoyed a standing at Barcelona as the club’s No.1 goalkeeper.
During this time, he amassed a large amount of silverware which included six La Liga titles and three Champions League medals.
However, Valdes grew disillusioned with life at the Nou Camp. Citing that there was too much pressure playing for the Catalans, he sought a way out in 2014 and decided not to renew his contract.
He subsequently joined Manchester United but failed to dislodge David De Gea as first-choice goalkeeper. His time with the Red Devils was seemingly up in 2015, after Valdes refused to participate in a reserve game and was placed on the transfer list by former Barca and current Red Devils’ manager Louis van Gaal.
Yet the former Spain international failed to attract any suitors and instead was sent out on a six-month loan to Standard Liege in early 2016.
He still plays for Les Rouches and most recently won the Belgian Cup. – KH