Ranking the 9 Argentines to have played for Barcelona since 2000

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Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Arsenal, April 2010.

Barcelona and Argentina have enjoyed a long-running relationship, especially in one famous case, with some of the best players in the modern era representing both the club and country.

But in among the undoubted successes, there have been a handful of flops and some whose time at the club would have escaped the attention of the biggest Barca fanatic.

Here’s how we’ve ranked the nine Argentines to have played for the club since 2000.

9. Roberto Bonano

Purchased from River Plate in 2001 while in his thirties, Bonano was expected to be the first choice at Camp Nou. What followed was so chastening that he was washed up at Real Murcia within two years.

In short, Bonano made so many errors that Barca were forced to blood a youngster between the sticks instead. Luckily, that man was Victor Valdes.

8. Juan Roman Riquelme

One of the biggest ballers of his generation, Riquelme was an unqualified flop after signing from Boca in 2002.

Manager Louis van Gaal called him a ‘political signing’ and played him out of position on the wing. No wonder Barca suffered their worst season in years…

Barcelona manager Louis van Gaal during the 2002-03 season.

READ: Revisiting Barca’s last crisis: the terrible 02-03 season under Van Gaal

7. Sergio Aguero

Aguero joined in 2021 following 10 successful years at Manchester City with the express aim of playing alongside Lionel Messi… only for Barca to lose their all-time greatest player to PSG. Whoops.

After furiously checking the small print of his contract, Aguero stayed on but would only score once in four appearances before being forced to retire with a heart condition.

A fantastic player, but not the finest signing in Barca’s history.

6. Maxi Lopez

Despite failing to break into the Barca starting XI, Lopez scored in a Champions League victory over Chelsea and went on to have a semi-successful career across Europe.

They’ve had worse.

5. Gabriel Milito

A solid centre-back, Milito’s time at Camp Nou was marked by injuries; he missed the entire 2008-09 campaign with cruciate ligament damage in his knee and was absent for large chunks of the following two seasons too.

And, worse of all, he was beaten by his brother Diego in the 2010 Champions League semi-final against Inter Milan.

Milito’s time in the Catalan capital is a classic story of what might’ve been.

4. Juan Pablo Sorin

Parachuted in to help Barcelona avoid relegation(!) in 2003, Sorin made 15 appearances and scored the odd goal as his new side hauled themselves to sixth and UEFA Cup qualification.

His reward? To be loaned out to PSG and sold permanently to Villarreal a year later. Great hair though.

3. Javier Saviola

Touted as the ‘next Maradona’, Saviola couldn’t quite live up to those expectations – but he was still a fantastic player.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 13: Javier Saviola #22 of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the match between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona, of La Liga at the Lluis Companys stadium January 13, 2007 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Bagu Blanco/Getty Images)

READ: Javier Saviola: The ‘little rabbit’ who almost became a world-beater

2. Javier Mascherano

Having forged his reputation as a world-leading defensive midfielder, Mascherano was snapped up by Guardiola from Liverpool in 2010 – and promptly turned into a centre-back.

Mascherano revealed last year: “The first thing Pep told me when I joined Barcelona was: ‘You know you’re coming here to be a substitute, no’. I said yes, but that I wasn’t going to make it easy for him.”

And, in a 2016 interview with The Guardian, he said: “Honestly, ater five, six months I thought it was unlikely I’d be here long: my characteristics seemed to go against everything Barcelona stood for”.

But one tackle on Nicklas Bendtner changed all that; Barca went on to win the Champions League, while Mascherano stayed for eight seasons and became one of the greatest servants in the club’s modern history.

1. Lionel Messi

Seven hundred and seventy-eight games, 644 goals and 34 major honours… Messi just scrapes into top spot.

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