As one of the world’s foremost superclubs, it’s not very often you get a rubbish player turning out for Barcelona.
By rubbish, we’re not talking players that proved to be world-class elsewhere but never quite lived up to a mammoth price tag, like Philippe Coutinho.
We’re talking really, really rubbish – albeit with the usual caveat that’s by top-level professional standards, namely still about a hundred times better than the best player you’ve ever played five-a-side with.
Sometimes not being good enough can have its own endearing quality all in itself. Here are six players who were rubbish at Barcelona but we couldn’t help but love them for it.
Jose Manuel Pinto
The experienced goalkeeper, who always looked more like a professional wrestler than a footballer, joined the club in the summer of 2008 – when Pep Guardiola joined and their golden age began.
Pinto always appeared satisfied to play second fiddle to Victor Valdes and by all accounts was a popular figure in the dressing room, especially close with Lionel Messi.
But he’d cause heart-attacks when rotated in or deputising on the rare occasions Valdes got injured. In particular, his presence between the sticks proved costly in the run-in as Barcelona went trophyless in 2013-14.
Despite being on the periphery, he always seemed up for a scrap. He was once banned for whistling to distract an opposition attacker and was sent off against Madrid despite not playing. We salute him for that shithousery.
The Brazilian full-back’s expression always seemed to paint a picture of ‘I’m just happy to be here’ and fair play – we’d likely be exactly the same if training with Lionel Messi and Neymar was our day job.
He spent five years on Barcelona’s books but only made three La Liga appearances amid various loans away. Douglas was invariably savaged for looking out of his depth in his rare forays onto the pitch.
“In Barcelona I had some tough times with injuries,” Douglas later recalled in an interview with El Comercio. “I’d come home crying every day.”
Aw. Mostly we just want to give him a hug.
Song definitely wasn’t the worst player in the world. He was excellent at Arsenal and was part of Barcelona’s 100-point 2012-13 La Liga-winning squad.
But he was distinctly crap during his short stint in Spain and never looked like staking a claim for regular starts. We can barely remember anything he did on the pitch for the club, but we’ll always have a soft spot for him for doing this:
Throwback to when Alex Song thought Carles Puyol wanted him to lift the Liga trophy ahead of cancer survivor Eric Abidal.pic.twitter.com/XIsHoqg99h
— Not Match of the Day (@NOT_MOTD) August 18, 2022
Widely regarded as one of Barcelona’s biggest transfer flops, Chyhrynskyi joined Barcelona after their historic treble win in 2009.
But the Ukrainian defender never looked convincing in his rare appearances in the backline and returned to Shakhtar Donetsk – at a significant loss – after just one season.
He could easily be bitter or defensive about how his time in Catalonia went, but he remains remarkably level-headed in recognising his limitations.
“The 25 million euros that were paid for me put great pressure on me, it was not my real value,” he told Cadena Ser in 2017.
“It was another world, I was surprised by the level of players like [Lionel] Messi or Zlatan [Ibrahimovic]. I was part of that team that was so impressive.”
Something of a cult hero on Teesside, the Brazilian midfielder doesn’t quite enjoy the same reputation in Barcelona.
His time there, between 2001 and 2005 but loaned out for the latter two years, coincided with the club’s most fallow period of the past few decades.
Critics suggested that signing players of Rochemback’s calibre was why Barcelona went trophyless for five long seasons.
Guardiola’s successor he patently was not. Scored a banger against Liverpool, though.
The Argentinian never received a senior international cap for his country and it’s not entirely surprising given how his career went.
Perhaps more famous for the Wanda Nara-Mauro Icardi scandal than anything he achieved on the pitch, Lopez enjoyed a respectable career as something of a journeyman, representing no fewer than 14 different clubs in five different countries.
He only scored two goals for the club but very much enjoyed his time in one of Europe’s most gorgeous cities with Ronaldinho there to make him feel at home.
“He used to come kicking in my door to get me out,” he later recalled.
“We would go to dinner together and he would show me the city. Ronaldinho was always like that with me and all the team-mates.
“He was a boy who integrated you both on and off the pitch with his unstoppable joie de vivre. We came to form a really nice group and today we still keep in touch Rafa Marquez, Giuly, Thiago Motta, Belletti … We were very close.”
You know what? Good for him.