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20 Barcelona players you probably forgot ever wore the shirt

Alexander Hleb and Bojan Krkic

As Barcelona land the signing of former Middlesbrough striker Martin Braithwaite, Sam May takes a look at some of the more peculiar and forgettable signings in the history of the Catalan club

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When you think of the Barcelona greats, there’s plenty to choose from. Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Romario, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho... it's not hard to rattle off a list. But, not everybody’s career in Catalonia was plain sailing.

Some struggled to make their mark, despite doing so elsewhere. Some just struggled everywhere. Here are 20 players who were instantly forgettable despite gracing the turf of the Camp Nou.

Christophe Dugarry - from AC Milan (1996)

Barcelona produced a double raid in 1996 which saw both Dugarry and Michael Reiziger swap the San Siro for the Camp Nou, for a total fee of €9m. Dutchman and current Ajax assistant Reiziger may have gone on to make over 200 appearances for the club, but Dugarry had a spell to forget - the Frenchman making just seven appearances. 

Unable to find the back of the net, he failed to impress Louis van Gaal and was frozen out, before moving back to his homeland with both Marseille and Bordeaux, and astonishingly winning the World Cup with France in 1998.

Philippe Christanval - from Monaco (2001)

The French centre-back and boyhood Barca fan, a €6.5m signing from Monaco in the summer of 2001, spent two seasons at the Catalan giants before being shipped back to France to join Marseille in 2003. 

Having failed to make the grade in the South of France, he later moved to the Premier League joining Fulham - following an unsuccessful trial at Arsenal. He fell down the pecking order at Craven Cottage and retired at just 31.

Vitor Baia - from Porto (1996)

Vitor Baia is remembered one of the greatest goalkeepers in Porto’s history. He made over 300 appearances for the Portuguese club and was highly thought of by Bobby Robson at the time. However, his two-season spell in Spain between 1996 and 1998 saw him make several mistakes, and he was sold back to Porto by van Gaal, before later winning the Champions League under Jose Mourinho in 2003-04. Remarkable.

Douglas - from São Paulo (2014)

Barcelona have had some tremendous Samba stars over the years, and sadly, Douglas wasn’t one of them. 

He joined Barca in the summer of 2014 in a €4m move from São Paulo, but had a debut to forget against Malaga. He ended up making just eight appearances in two seasons, before being loaned out for each of the next three. 

Now 29, he signed for Turkish club Beşiktaş on a permanent deal in the summer.

Geovanni - from Cruzeiro (2001)

Making just 50 appearances over two seasons, the attacking midfielder was brought in from Cruzeiro in 2011, but later found himself heading out on-loan to Benfica, before signing for the Portuguese giants on a free. He will most likely be remembered for his time in the Premier League with both Manchester City and Hull.

Dmytro Chygrynskiy - from Shakhtar Donetsk (2009)

This one always looked to be a strange signing. The centre-back’s last game for Shakhtar was a UEFA Super Cup loss against Barca, the team he would later join. Signing for €25m in 2009, the Ukrainian international spent one season in Catalonia, making only 14 appearances, before returning to Shakhtar for €15m the following year.

Emmanuel Amuneke - from Sporting CP (1996)

Amuneke was brought to the club on the back of a successful World Cup campaign with Nigeria in 1994. Suffering a serious knee injury in 1997, he barely featured, making just 18 appearances. He later played for Albacete in 2000 before spells in South Korea and Jordan.

Henrique - from Palmeiras (2008)

Henrique failed to make a single appearance in the four seasons he spent at the Camp Nou, and was sent out on-loan three times to Bayer Leverkusen, Racing Santander and back to Palmeiras, re-signing for them permanently when Barca eventually cancelled his contract. 

He returned to Europe briefly, spending a season at Napoli, but is now plying his trade with Ittihad Kalba in the UAE Pro League.

Alexander Hleb - from Arsenal (2008)

Joining from Arsenal in the summer of 2008, the Belarus midfielder had impressed in his three seasons with Gunners, but his 36 appearances for Barca were quickly forgotten. He failed to score in his time at Camp Nou and was later loaned to Stuttgart, Birmingham and Wolfsburg. Now 38, he is currently back in his homeland with Isloch Minsk Raion.

Emmanuel Petit - from Arsenal (2002)

Petit was a key figure alongside Patrick Vieira in Arsenal’s midfield at the beginning of Arsene Wenger’s reign. However, his Barcelona career was one to forget. 

The Frenchman joined Barca along with Marc Overmars in 2000, but niggling injuries and being played out of position saw him leave after a single season to join Chelsea. However, he was never quite the same player as he was in that formidable Arsenal team.

Keirrison - From Palmeiras (2009)

Like Henrique, Keirrison joined Barcelona from Palmeiras, and also like Henrique, the striker failed to make a first-team appearance for the Catalan club. A €14m signing in 2009, he was loaned out straight away to Benfica, before spending the following season at Fiorentina. He later had season-long spells at Santos, Cruzeiro and Coritiba. He left Barca in 2014 on a free transfer to join Coritiba and last played for Londrina in his homeland.

Fabio Rochemback - from International (2001)

Signed as a replacement for Pep Guardiola, who left to join Brescia in the summer of 2001, Rochemback was a million miles from the Catalan midfielder and failed to live up to expectations at the Camp Nou. The Brazilian went out on loan to Sporting CP in Portugal and is mostly remembered for his time at Middlesborough where he spent three seasons, joining the Premier League club for a cut-price €1.5m in 2005.

Rustu Recber - from Fenerbahce (2003)

Who? When you think of Barcelona goalkeepers of the past, Recber is without question one that doesn’t spring to mind. Thankfully for the Catalan giants he signed on a free transfer in the summer of 2003. 

Interestingly, the Turkey shot-stopper was left out of the opening La Liga match, simply because of his poor Spanish. Frank Rijkaard opted for Victor Valdes between the sticks, who went on to become one of the clubs greatest keepers. Valdes’ impressive form and displays spelt the end for the Turk, who made just seven appearances.

Alex Song - from Arsenal (2012)

Alex Song was brought to the club in the summer of 2012, the idea being the Cameroonian could operate as a defensive midfielder and also as a centre-back. He never suited the playing style, and some of the club's worst performances came when he started in the XI. After two seasons, Song left to join West Ham.

Richard Witschge - from Ajax (1991)

Johan Cruyff brought in promising compatriot Richard Witschge in 1991 for €2.1 million. The Dutch midfielder already appeared for the Netherlands national team, having impressed for Ajax. He ended up scoring just twice in two seasons, and moved to Bordeaux in 1993. After appearing 31 times for his country, he returned to his homeland, before finishing his career in Japan.

Juan Román Riquelme - from Boca Juniors (2002)

Juan Román Riquelme joined Barcelona in November 2002 for a fee of €10m. The silky midfielder was often deployed as a winger and never managed to show his incredible ability while at the club. Van Gaal later sold the Argentinian international to Villarreal following a previous loan spell, and it was there where Riquelme made his presence known.

Simão - from Sporting CP (1999)

The Portuguese midfielder joined the club in 1999 and netted in a 2-0 victory over Real Madrid in El Clásico a year later. In 2001, after a comparatively low-key tenure at Barca, Simão spoke of his desire for a move back to Sporting. However, he later joined Benfica for €12m.

Ricardo Quaresma - from Sporting CP (2003)

With only 22 appearances, the enigmatic winger lasted just one year at Barca. He showed the odd glimpse of his incredible individual brilliance, scoring in a 5-0 routing of Albacete, but was mostly a frustrating presence. A falling out with Rijkaard resulted in the player later moving to Porto.

Jari Litmanen - from Ajax (1999)

Jari Litmanen has cult-like status among many football fans, and when van Gaal went back to old club Ajax to recruit players it was the Finnish attacking midfielder he wanted the most. 

Unfortunately, his time at Barcelona is not fondly remembered, as the player suffered from injuries and the misfortune of van Gaal leaving the club. New coach Llorenç Serra Ferrer arrived and Litmanen fell out of favour. He was stripped of his number 10 shirt (which went to Rivaldo, who began to emerge) and then frozen out altogether before sealing a free transfer move to Liverpool in January 2001.

Maxi López - from River Plate (2004)

In January 2005, Barcelona signed Maxi López for €6.2 million following an injury to striker Henrik Larsson. On his UEFA Champions League debut in February of that year, he scored in an eventual 2–1 first-leg win over Chelsea. 

However, that was to be the highlight of his time at the club. In his first full season he failed to establish himself in the first team,  his only other goal coming in a Copa del Rey tie against Zamora on 11 January 2006.

He was loaned out to Mallorca before joining FC Moscow permanently in 2007.

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