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As FC Barcelonatravel to Italy to take on Juventus in the first leg of the Champions League quarter final, we thought it would be fun to reveal our team of players currently plying their trade in Serie A that have previously featured either in the Barça first team or in its academy over the years. Quite a team it would make too!
Pepe Reina (Napoli)
Now at Napoli, Reina is best known for his years of service to Villarreal and later Liverpool, but it was at Barça where things all began, following in the footsteps of another former blaugrana goalie, his father Miguel. But the ‘understudy’ role was never one for Reina, and on Merseyside he’d go on to set a new record of Premiership appearances for a Spaniard.
Dani Alves (Juventus)
Needs no introduction as the foreigner with the second highest number of appearances for Barça (behind Leo Messi). In eight glorious seasons with Barça, the attack-minded full-back won absolutely everything and became a firm fan favourite. Even though he’ll be wearing the opposition’s shirt, the Brazilian is still guaranteed a rapturous reception when he returns to Camp Nou for the second leg.
Pol Garcia (Juventus, on loan to Latina)
After one season in the Barça academy (2010/11), the Catalan left-sided defender was released to Juventus, but has yet to make a first-team appearance and is currently on loan to Serie B club Latina.
Right-back Patricio Gabarrón Gil was at La Masia from 2008 to 2013, and even made his Champions League debut in 2012 as a late substitute for Carles Puyol against Ajax. Left for Lazio in 2015, where he has struggled to get a regular place in the team.
Thomas Vermaelen (Roma)
The Arsenal centre-back and captain left London for Barcelona in 2014. But injuries have been severely unkind to the Belgian international and although still officially on Barça’s books, since last summer he has been on loan to Roma on a one-year-deal.
Luis Alberto (Lazio)
Arriving on loan from the Sevilla academy in 2012, the midfielder was second top scorer for Barça B in his sole season in Catalonia before being traded to Liverpool. Spent last season on loan to Deportivo and moved to Lazio in the summer.
Gerard Deulofeu (Milan)
One of the brightest prospects to come out La Masia in recent seasons, but it is at Everton where the speedy winger really made his name – although the Toffeemen have loaned him out to Milan this season. He’s progressing well though, having scored his first goal for Spain last month against France – with a little help from the VAR!
Iago Falque (Torino)
The Galician winger was at La Masia for seven years through to 2008, but never made it into the first team. He left for Juventus instead and since then has club-hopped between Italy, England and Spain before returning to Turin last summer, but not to Juve but to Torino. It was originally a loan deal from Roma, but since January he’s been signed on a full-time basis.
Cristian Tello (Fiorentina)
It was under Tito Vilanova that the Catalan made his biggest break at Barça, but the competition for places is tough at the Camp Nou, and after Neymar Jr and then Luis Suárez joined the club, it became tougher still. After two years on loan to Porto, he’s now at Fiorentina on a similar arrangement – where he’s a first choice starter in the Viola attack.
Maxi López (Torino)
Many moons have passed since the Golden Hen arrived at Barça from River Plate in his native Argentina – originally as cover for the injured Henrik Larsson. He failed to win a regular place and never truly settled at any other club either until joining Torino in 2015, where he finally seems to have found his home.
Mauro Icardi (Internazionale)
Another Argentinian, who joined Barcelona as a promising teenager in 2008, but after three years preferred to take up an offer from Sampdoria instead. He ended up at Internazionale, where he is now captain and with whom he was joint top goalscorer in Serie A the season before last.
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