FC Barcelona will face three of their ex-players on Saturday when they play PSG: defender Maxwell, midfielder Thiago Motta and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Two of them, Maxwell and Ibra, both trained under Tito Villanova when he was Guardiola’s assistant.
Distinctive roles at Barça
The three played distinctive roles in their times at the Club. Ibrahimovic was the striker who scored 20 goals in the season which saw the team take 6 titles. Maxwell was signed to replace Sylvinho and share the left back duties with Éric Abidal, before the arrival of Adriano lessened his opportunities and led to him leave the Club in last winter’s transfer window. Thiago Motta, came up through the ranks at the Club and his commitment to the team was always clear, culminating in his time under Frank Rijkaard, when he won Champions League medal as a key member of the midfield.
Title winners at Barça
All three won titles at the Club, with Maxwell having the best figures – 10 titles between 2009 and 2011, winning 2 League titles, 3 Spanish Super Cups, 2 European Super Cups, 2 World Club Cups and a Champions League under Pep Guardiola.
The other two players were slightly less successful, with five titles each. In just under a season at the Club (2009/10) Ibrahimovic won 1 League, 2 Spanish Super Cups, 1 European Super Cup and 1 World Club Cup, whilst Thiago Motta won 1 Champions League (in Paris!), 2 Leagues and 2 Spanish Super Cups between 2001 and 2007.
Established at PSG
All three players are key to Carlo Ancelotti, with both Maxwell and Motta establishing themselves last season and Zlatan Ibrahimovic the marquee signing this summer from Milan.
It’ll be the first time that Maxwell has faced Barça since he left the Club, whilst both Motta and Ibrahimovic have both played against their old Club with AC and Inter Milan.