18th Aug, 2014. Luis Suarez (Barcelona) Football/Soccer : Trofeo Joan Gamper match between FC Barcelona 6-0 Leon FC at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain.

Where are they now? The 15 players Luis Enrique signed for Barcelona

Luis Enrique’s three years in charge of Barcelona is one of the most memorable and successful periods in the club’s history – but the Spanish coach’s hit-rate when it came to signings left a lot to be desired.

The former midfielder led the club to a historic treble during his first season in charge. They retained the La Liga title in his second year and won a third successive Copa del Rey in his final year at the Camp Nou, although the club’s recruitment under former president Josep Maria Bartomeu was questionable to say the least.

We’ve checked in on what the 15 players signed by Luis Enrique are up to these days.

Luis Suarez

Barcelona spent a club-record €65million to sign Suarez in 2014, despite him having been served a four-month football ban by FIFA for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

But the Uruguayan had just off that season at Liverpool and proved to be worth every penny.

It’s easy to forget that Luis Enrique actually made a slow start as Barcelona manager and was under pressure of losing his job come Christmas. But Suarez’s long-awaited inclusion swiftly turned things around, he clicked with Lionel Messi and Neymar and helped deliver the treble.

Suarez scored 195 goals and notched 113 assists in 283 appearances for the club and won four La Liga titles with the club, before claiming a fifth with Atletico Madrid.

Nowadays he’s turning out for Brazilian club Gremio and is rumoured to join old pal Messi for Inter Miami’s 2024 MLS campaign.

As for how well did Liverpool replaced him? Well…

READ: Revisiting Liverpool’s 9 Luis Suarez replacements from 2014

Ivan Rakitic

Xavi Hernandez is undoubtedly one of the greatest players in Barcelona’s history but he was slowing down in 2014 – as underlined by Spain’s disappointing World Cup.

He still had a role to play as a squad player in his final season, but Croatia international Rakitic arrived to give the team much-needed legs in Barcelona’s best XI.

Rakitic was chosen ahead of Xavi to start the 2015 Champions League final, opened the scoring, and eventually racked up over 300 appearances before returning to Sevilla in 2020.

The 35-year-old remains at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and lifted another Europa League trophy with the Rojiblancos last term.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Long-serving La Masia graduate Victor Valdes departed his boyhood club in 2014 after over a decade of service.

Barcelona signed two players to plug that gaping hole between the sticks, with highly-rated youngster Ter Stegen brought in from Borussia Monchengladbach as the long-term option.

The German had to make do with the cup competitions in his first season, but demonstrated his class as Barca lifted the Copa del Rey and Champions League and went to establish himself as the club’s undisputed No.1.

Nine years later he remains in Catalonia, and he was absolutely outstanding in the club’s La Liga title victory last term.

Claudio Bravo

Goalkeeper two signed in Luis Enrique’s first summer was the more experienced and proven Bravo, who had been quietly consistent for eight years at Real Sociedad.

The Chilean was the La Liga ‘keeper in 2014-15 and stayed around for another year before becoming one of Pep Guardiola’s first signings at Manchester City.

But Bravo struggled at City and lost his place to Ederson after just one year. He’s been back in Spain with Real Betis since 2020 and continues turning out for the club at the age of 40.

Thomas Vermaelen

An eyebrow-raising signing, Vermaelen was a quality defender on his day – but he looked ready for the scrapheap in his latter years at Arsenal and didn’t quite prove his doubters wrong by making just one appearance in 2014-15.

The Belgian spent a further three years at Barcelona and ended up playing over 50 times for the club. He retired in 2021 following a stint with Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe.

Jeremy Mathieu

By no means the best centre-back in the world, Mathieu was nevertheless a half-decent squad player at times, particularly in that first treble-winning year.

“I lost my confidence in the last year. That’s football. The problem is Luis Enrique didn’t talk with the players,” the French defender said in 2017 after he departed for Sporting Lisbon.

“I didn’t know what to do to play more. I played a lot in the first two years. I don’t know why it changed in the last year. But that’s the way it is.”

Mathieu retired in 2020 after suffering a knee injury, and he’s kept a low profile ever since.


Oh, Douglas.

The Brazilian right-back became something of a punchline after failing to make the grade at Barcelona. He left for Besiktas in 2019 and has been without a club since being released by the Turkish Super Lig club last year.

READ: Ranking Barcelona’s 17 weirdest signings from 2000 until now

Aleix Vidal

Now we’re getting into the weeds.

The Spanish right-back was signed for €18million from Sevilla in the summer of 2015, but due to a transfer embargo he wasn’t able to play for the club until the following January.

That thinking worked out alright with Suarez, who came roaring back with a point to prove, but Vidal struggled to ever get going after six months out.

After an underwhelming stint, Vidal was sold back to Sevilla in 2018. He’s currently a free agent, having been released after Espanyol’s relegation at the end of last season.

Arda Turan

Once a brilliant winger for Diego Simeone’s title-winning Atletico Madrid, Turan was also signed amid the transfer embargo of 2015.

He wasn’t a blinding success at the Camp Nou, but he registered a better-than-you-remember return of 15 goals and 11 assists in 55 appearances.

Turan retired in 2022 after a spell back at boyhood club Galatasaray and all manner of off-field controversies. He’s now the manager of second-tier Turkish side Eyupsor.

Denis Suarez

We could bore you with the details of the Spanish midfielder’s weird stop-start career – filled with loans away, buyback clauses and false dawns – but let’s just say that Suarez has struggled to ever find a home, which was certainly the case with his various stints at Barcelona.

He did make over a hundred appearances for Celta Vigo, but just when it looked as though he was finally settled he was sold to Villarreal. A career that can only be described as nomadic.

Lucas Digne

The French defender never quite nailed down a regular starting berth after joining from PSG in 2016.

Digne was sold on to Everton two years later, and since then he’s been among the Premier League’s most quietly consistent left-backs (now at Unai Emery’s Aston Villa).

Samuel Umtiti

One of the finest centre-backs in the world during his early years at Barcelona, Umtiti’s career peaked with his starring role in France’s 2018 World Cup victory.

But putting his body on the line for the ultimate glory saw him struggle horribly with injuries ever since, resulting in him dropping to the periphery at Barcelona.

But Umtiti enjoyed a heartwarming and unlikely resurgence with a solid season at Serie A club Lecce last term, and he’s since returned to France with Lille.

The 30-year-old hasn’t played a great deal of football for Lille this season, but it’s nice to see his career still going – as at one point that looked in serious doubt.

Andre Gomes

The Portuguese midfielder was signed from Valencia, but he struggled as the club unconvincingly tried to look ahead to a post-Xavi and Iniesta future.

He’s still at Everton, wouldn’t you believe. Not even out on loan or anything. Just quietly collecting his wages.

Jasper Cillessen

We’re sensing a theme with players signed in the latter days of Luis Enrique’s reign. Hung around a bit, didn’t pull up any trees, left quietly.

At least that was probably always part of the plan with experienced Netherlands international Cillessen, who was only ever going to be Ter Stegen’s bench warmer when he arrived from Ajax in 2016.

After three years with Valencia, he rejoined NEC Nijmegen, the club where he first made his name.

Paco Alcacer

Cut and paste. Signed 2016, left 2019. A few moments here and there.

There was that weird period on loan to Borussia Dortmund in 2018-19 when he scored almost a goal a game (12 in his 14 Bundesliga appearances) but he inevitably failed to maintain that form after joining the club permanently.

Nowadays Alcacer is turning out Emirates Club, on loan from fellow UAE-based Sharjah. He’s still only 30.

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