FC Barcelona at the European Championships

FC Barcelona at the European Championships

A trip down memory lane as we look how Barça's representatives have faired at previous editions of the UEFA zone's continental championship

With the European Championship about to start 12 months later than originally planned, we look at back at how different Barça players have fared for their countries since UEFA first held the tournament in 1960. As many as 13 players have won the competition whilst being Barça players: Olivella, Fusté, Pereda, Zaballa, Sadurní, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Piqué, Pedro, Cesc, Valdés and Sergio.

1960: Spanish withdrawal

The current 24-team format is a far cry from the first ever edition in France that featured just four finalists. Barça had several regulars in the much-fancied Spanish squad. But General Franco refused to allow the team to play its quarter final against the communist USSR, so they were disqualified.

Jesús Maria Pereda

1964: Spain win on home soil

Spain hosted in 1964, and the Camp Nou was the venue for one of the semi-finals. Barça’s Ferran Olivella, Josep Maria Fusté, Jesús María Pereda (pictured above), Salvador Sadurní and Pedro Zaballa were all in the Spain squad, which made the final against the USSR. This time they did play the Soviets, and Pereda scored the first of the two goals that won the trophy.

1976: Cruyff and Neeskens see red

Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens went to Yugoslavia in 1976 with the wonderful Dutch team that had lost the World Cup Final two years earlier. But they lost 3-1 to Czechoslovakia in a semi-final in which both the two Barça stars were sent off.

Bernd Schuster

1980: Gold for Schuster

In Italy in 1980, the tournament included a group stage for the first time. Spain, coached by Barça legend Ladislao Kubala, had five current blaugrana players in the squad (Migueli, Juan Manuel Asensi, ‘Lobo’ Carrasco, Antonio Olmo and Pedro María Artola). They failed to shine, only managing a single point in a group shared with Italy, Belgium and England.

West Germany went on to win the trophy, and Bernd Schuster (pictured above), the winner of the Silver Ball (for second best player in the tournament), would be joining FC Barcelona shortly afterwards.

1984: Spain reach second final

1984 in France was a far more successful campaign for Spain. Víctor Muñoz, Carrasco, Julio Alberto Moreno and Marcos Alonso were in the squad that went all the way to the final, where they lost 2-0 to the Michel Platini inspired France.


1988: Glory for Koeman and Rijkaard

Andoni Zubizarreta, Víctor Muñoz and Ramón Calderé failed to help Spain out of the group stage. Barça were also represented by Gary Lineker, whose England team fared even worse, losing all three of its games.

But the tournament hosted by West Germany was a fabulous one for two future Barça managers, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman (pictured above), as Holland won what is, to date, still their only major international honour.

1992: Laudrup misses Denmark’s finest hour

Four years later, and Ronald Koeman was a Barça player. In fact, he was the only one who went to Sweden, just days after scoring the goal that won the club’s first ever European Cup.

Holland had a fine run to the semi-finals, but lost on penalties to Denmark. The Danes only went to the finals as late replacements for war-torn Yugoslavia but amazingly went on to win the trophy. Barça superstar Michael Laudrup, however, decided not to interrupt his holiday and as a result played no part in it.

1996: Five countries, no semi-finalists

At the first 16-team finals in England, four of the nine Barça players (Abelardo, Sergi Barjuan, Guillermo Amor and Miguel Ángel Nadal, as well as Luis Enrique, who was on the point of joining from Real Madrid) were in the Spain team that eliminated Bulgaria (with Hristo Stoichkov, then of Parma but about to return to Barça) and Romania (Gheorghe Popescu and Gheorghe Hagi) in the group stages.

All of Barça’s other representatives also progressed, Luis Figo with Portugal, Robert Prosinečki with Croatia and Jordi Cruyff with Holland.

But all of them lost their respective quarter finals, and Barça had no players left in the semi-finals.


2000: The Dutch connection

Euro 2000 in Holland and Belgium produced the peculiar situation of Barça having twice as many players in the Dutch team (Michael Reiziger, Frank de Boer, Boudewijn Zenden, Phillip Cocu, Patrick Kluivert, Ronald de Boer) as it did in the Spain team (Pep Guardiola, Abelardo, Sergi).

Spain went out in the quarters to France, and Holland crashed out to Italy on penalties in the semi-final, but Kluivert did finish as joint top scorer in the tournament with five goals.

Barça’s only other player, Luis Figo, was also a semi-finalist with Portugal.

France ended up winning the title with a host of Barça related players in the squad (Lilian Thuram, Laurent Blanc, Emmanuel Petit, Christophe Dugarry and Thierry Henry (pictured above)), although none of them was on the blaugrana books at the time.

2004: Blaugrana-Oranje again

At Portugal 2004, the Dutch team was once again packed with Barça stars (Reiziger, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Cocu, Edgar Davids, Kluivert and Marc Overmars), but crashed out to Sweden on penalties in the quarter finals.

Spain (Carles Puyol, Gabri and Xavi) failed to make it out of their group.

Xavi Hernández

2008: Victory for Spain

Four years later and there were no Barça players in the Dutch squad, but three (Eric Abidal, Henry and Thuram) in the French one that failed to win a game.

Deco’s Portugal and Gianluca Zambrotta’s Italy got no further than the quarters, but Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi (pictured above) all played fundamental roles in leading Spain to the title (La Masia products Pepe Reina, Fernando Navarro and Sergio García were also in the squad).

Spain beat Germany 1-0 in Vienna to win the trophy for the second time, and Xavi was named Player of the Tournament.

2012: Spain do it again

Having won the World Cup in 2010, Spain then made it three tournament victories in a row by thrashing Italy 4-0 in the final in Kyiv. Carles Puyol and David Villa both missed the tournament with injuries, but Iniesta and Xavi were there (this time it was Iniesta’s turn to be named tournament MVP), and Barça were also represented by Gerard Piqué, Pedro, Cesc Fàbregas, Víctor Valdés and Sergio Busquets.

The only other Barça player was Ibrahim Afellay, whose Holland team lost all three fixtures.

FC Barcelona - Atlético de Madrid (1-1)

2016: Portugal win in Paris

At the last Euros in France, Barça was represented by five different countries, and the only one that failed to make it out of the groups was Turkey, captained by Arda Turan.

Spain (Piqué, Marc Bartra, Busquets, Iniesta and Jordi Alba) went out to Italy in the round of 16, and Ivan Rakitić’s Croatia lost to Portugal.

The magnificent Welsh team ended Belgium and Thomas Vermaelen’s tournament at the quarter final stage, leaving Marc-André ter Stegen as Barça’s sole representative in the semi-finals, although Manuel Neuer was the preferred choice in the Germany goal.

Portugal went on to win the trophy for the first time, with a team that had one former Barça player (Ricardo Quaresma) and another who would join the club the following season (André Gomes (pictured above)).

Força Barça
Força Barça

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