From Real Sociedad to FC Barcelona

From Real Sociedad to FC Barcelona

Claudio Bravo is the eighth player to have left San Sebastian for the Camp Nou The likes of Pello Artola, Bakero and Txiki Begiristain have all been a huge success in Barcelona

Claudio Bravo is the fifth Barça signing for 2014-15 under new manager Luis Enrique. The goalkeeper has joined from Real Sociedad after captaining Chile at the World Cup. He has spent the last eight seasons at Anoeta, where he made the second highest number of appearances ever for a foreigner, and was also the third most used goalkeeper in club history.

But Bravo is by no means the first player to leave Real Sociedad for Barça. There have been seven before, although this is the first such move for 18 years, since Meho Kodro. Others have included Pello Artola, Bakero and Txiki Begiristain, meaning there is a long-lasting tradition of links between San Sebastian and the Catalonian capital.

Pedro María Artola, 'Pello', was the first signing from Real Sociedad. He arrived when Hans Wesiweiler was manager and with the season already under way. The Basque kept goal for FC Barcelona between 1975 and 1984, winning the Zamora Trophy in 1977-78 after conceding just 23 goals in 28 league matches. . Artola may not have been very tall, but he was a quick and agile shot-stopper in his iconic green shirt with black trim.

The next ‘txuri-uridn’ to come to the Camp Nou was midfielder Periko Alonso, who joined just after the 1982 World Cup in Spain. He was regular starter for two seasons at FC Barcelona, winning the Spanish Cup and the Spanish Super Cup.

Real Sociedad and the Dream Team

One of FC Barcelona’s most memorable signings from Real was Jose Mari Bakero, who joined in 1988. An extremely dedicated player, he played just behind the attack. He was great at finding space, a born leader and a capable goalscorer who soon became one of the most popular players in the team.

The summer of 1988 saw him joined by two more former Real players in Txiki Begiristain and López Rekarte.

Begiristain soon became a key component of the side, wearing the shirt for seven seasons. He started playing on the left wing, but Johan Cruyff experimented with him in a variety of other positions, including as a striker and central midfielder.

He arrived at the same time as López Rekarte, who played for Barça for three seasons, winning the Cup Winners Cup in 1989 (and scoring in the final), as well as the Spanish Cup 1990 and La Liga 1991.

Jon Andoni Goikoetxea was a special case. He also joined Barça in the summer of 1988 as a promising youngster and went on loan to Real Sociedad for two seasons as part of the Bakero, Begiristain and Rekarte deal. After the loan period, he returned in 1990-91 and helped the famous Dream Team to its first league title. In four seasons at FC Barcelona he won a host of honours, and played 126 league games, scoring six goals, and played in the historic 1992 European Cup Final at Wembley.

The last arrival, before Claudio Bravo, was Meho Kodro, a Bosnian striker who had been a huge success at Real Sociedad. He played in the final season under Johan Cruyff (1995-1996), scoring nine goals.

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