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Ousmane Dembele during the Ligue 1 Ubereats Classico between PSG and Olympique de Marseille at the Parc des Princes on September 24, 2023.

The 8 players let go by Barcelona in the summer – & how they’ve fared since

Barcelona made a few high-profile additions to their squad this summer as they look to defend their La Liga title, but we wanted to know how those who left Camp Nou have fared since their departures.

The likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Oriel Romeu, Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix all arrived at Barcelona as Xavi looked to keep Real Madrid at bay in Spain, while improving on last season’s disappointing Champions League performances.

But we’ve taken a look at the 8 players that Barcelona let go in the summer and checked out how they’ve fared since.

Sergio Busquets

Busquets was given an emotional farewell upon leaving Barcelona at the end of last season. Quite right too, considering the midfielder is Barcelona’s third all-time appearance-maker and won over 30 trophies with the club.

He joined former team-mate Lionel Messi at Inter Miami and has appeared in all but one of their matches since his arrival. Not bad for 35.

Busquets is also enjoying life in America. “Yes, it’s been wonderful [living in Miami.] The people have treated us so well,” he said in a recent interview.

“Different than Europe, but it’s an easy way of life.”

Sergio Busquets celebrates Barcelona winning Champions League final vs Juventus, Olympiastadion, Berlin, May 2015

READ: 13 legends honour Sergio Busquets: ‘He could play in velvet slippers’

Jordi Alba

Alba was also unable to resist Miami, moving to America after 11 years and 459 appearances for Barcelona.

“Jordi is an accomplished, dynamic and experienced player that we’re excited to acquire to continue bolstering our squad,” Inter Miami sporting director Chris Henderson said.

“He has proven for over a decade that he is one of the best full-backs in the sport due to both his defensive solidity and capacity to contribute in the attack.”

The European Championship-winning defender was unable to help Miami make the MLS play-offs, but did contribute this lovely goal to the footballing zeitgeist.

Samuel Umtiti

After agreeing to terminate his Barcelona contract, French World Cup winner Umtiti returned to his homeland and signed for Lille.

Still only 30, the centre-back has made three Ligue 1 appearances and played twice in the Europa Conference League. You imagine Umtiti will fancy his chances of helping Lille win silverware in the latter competition.

Alex Collado

Collado wrote a tear-jerking goodbye message to Barcelona supporters after sealing a move to Real Betis this summer.

“I arrived at La Masia with the greatest of illusions, with the dream of being able to play with the first team one day,” he said.

“After much effort and sacrifice, I can say that I have fulfilled my dream. It is never easy to say goodbye to what has been your home for so many years. They have given me the opportunity to enjoy what I like the most. I’ll keep supporting like one more cule.”

Just four days after arriving in Seville, Collado was sent on loan to Al-Okhdood and has made seven appearances for the Saudi Pro League side. We didn’t see that one coming.

Nico Gonzalez

Porto sealed an €8.5 million for Nico this summer, although Barcelona’s insistence on a buy-back clause suggests they still hold the player in high value.

“Nico Gonzalez is going to be better than Sergio Busquets,” Barcelona youth chief Xavier Vilajoana said in 2021. “He is more complete.

“He can play as a central midfielder because he’s better at when going forward, he’s more intense, he plays well with his head, he is right-footed by plays very well with both feet, he’s tall and strong. A typical no.8.”

The midfielder has already played seven times for his new club, including in a Champions League match against Barca in October 2023. It remains to be seen whether he can emulate Busquets.

Franck Kessie

Kessie only spent one season at Barcelona after failing to replicate the form he’d shown helping AC Milan win the Scudetto.

The Ivory Coast international floundered at Camp Nou and the club wanted his wages off the book as soon as possible. As if by magic, Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli did just that.

In fairness, Kessie looks more comfortable with his new side and scored an absolute ripsnorter against an Al-Ittihad team featuring Fabinho and Karim Benzema.

Ousmane Dembele

PSG triggered a €50 million clause in Dembele’s contract to reunite him with international team-mate Kylian Mbappe, but it’s not gone to plan for the Frenchman so far.

Dembele has contributed just two assists and looked particularly poor in PSG’s Champions League hammering against Newcastle.

There are already rumours that Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle might look to sign the forward in January. Barcelona fans familiar with Dembele’s inconsistency will be nodding knowingly so far.

Abde Ezzalzouli

“Abde is a differential player,” Xavi said about the winger in 2021. “He can make a difference. He is a dagger. A marvel. (He is) making the difference in a tremendous way.”

Alas, Ezzalzouli’s performances at Osasuna last season only tempted Barcelona into selling him to Real Betis to ease their financial concerns.

He scored his first goal for his new club in a 3-0 win over Valencia this month and it feels like the 21-year-old is in the perfect environment to thrive.


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