Where are they now? The legendary Barcelona ‘Pep team’ of 2010-11
Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona are without question one of the greatest club sides in the history of football. Veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets is the last player from that great side to depart the club.
In his first season in charge of his boyhood club, Guardiola led them to a historic treble, but many consider their 2010-11 campaign – in which they won La Liga and the Champions League – to be the very best iteration of that side.
With Busquets set to be the last of the gang to wave goodbye, we thought this would be a good opportunity to revisit that great side. We’ve taken a look back at that side’s crowning glory – the 2010-11 Champions League final victory over Manchester United – and checked in to what they’re all doing 12 years later.
GK: Victor Valdes
The homegrown goalkeeper stayed around until 2014, when he left at the end of his contract and was replaced by Claudio Bravo and long-term successor Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Valdes won a subsequent sixth league title in 2012-13 and might’ve claimed a seventh had he not suffered a costly injury in the final weeks of his final campaign, in which Diego Simeone pipped Barca to the title.
The former Spain international went on to make a handful of appearances for Manchester United and Standard Liege before hanging up his gloves following Middlesbrough’s relegation in 2017.
In his post-retirement coaching career, Valdes briefly returned to Barcelona to coach one of the youth teams, but he left after a clash with La Masia director Patrick Kluivert.
READ: 12 modern Barcelona legends who left the club for nothing
RB: Dani Alves (Carles Puyol, ’88)
Alves returned to Barcelona for half a season after five years away last year. He’s currently in jail and has been denied bail following an alleged sexual assault in Barcelona last year.
Legendary captain Puyol, a proper one-club man, retired in 2014. He rejected the chance to become the club’s sporting director in 2019. He’s currently an ambassador for UEFA and La Liga.
CB: Javier Mascherano
The diminutive Argentinian was a totally different profile of player to Puyol but his tenacity, ability to play out from the back and exceptional positional awareness saw him thrive as the shaggy-haired skipper’s successor.
Mascherano spent eight years at Barcelona and left in 2018, seeing out his career with stints at Hebei China Fortune and Argentinian club Estudiantes.
The 38-year-old coached Argentina’s Under-20s at the recent South American Championships. He resigned after their disappointing group-stage exit but he’s remained in the post after a change of heart and will continue in the role for the upcoming Under-20 World Cup – hosted in Argentina.
CB: Gerard Pique
Pique won nine league titles at his boyhood club, but a tenth is imminent after he played a role in the opening months of Barcelona’s 2022-23 campaign – before suddenly announcing his retirement with a heartfelt video message in November.
The entrepreneurially-minded former centre-back has his fingers in many pies across the world of business and sport and is already being talked up as a future club president. We can see it.
Culers, us he de dir una cosa. pic.twitter.com/k3V919pm1T
— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) November 3, 2022
LB: Eric Abidal
The French left-back miraculously started the 2011 Champions League final against Manchester United, just months after undergoing surgery following the diagnosis of a tumour on his liver.
Abidal remained at Barcelona until 2013. He saw out his career with stints at Monaco and Olympiakos and later spent two years as Barcelona’s sporting director, but his record of signings was mixed and he was sacked following the club’s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in August 2020.
DM: Sergio Busquets
“Everything has a beginning and an end, and although it has not been an easy decision, I think the time has come,” announced Busquets earlier this week.
“I want to thank all the people who have made it possible: club workers, staff, physiotherapists, directors, president, coaches, analysts and above all my teammates, with whom I have shared everything.”
The 34-year-old reportedly has a lucrative offer to go and play in Saudi Arabia – with rumours old pals Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba will join him. Whatever happens next, he’ll undoubtedly be remembered as one of the greatest midfielders in Barcelona history.
READ: 13 legends honour Sergio Busquets: ‘He could play in velvet slippers’
Whatever happened to that guy?
CM: Andres Iniesta
The third member of that trident that conquered the world for Barcelona and Spain, Iniesta is still going strong at the age of 39, five years after he left Barcelona.
The era-defining midfielder has racked up over 100 appearances for Vissel Kobe since he joined the Japanese outfit back in 2018. He’s still awaiting his first J League title, but Vissel Kobe currently sit top of the table, 12 games into the 2023 season.
FWR: David Villa (Seydou Keita, ’86)
The all-time leading goalscorer in the history of the Spanish national team, Villa’s debut season at Barcelona was his only truly brilliant season there – but what a season. He scored 23 goals in all competitions in 2010-11 and slotted in perfectly alongside Messi and Pedro, looking a much more natural fit than his predecessor Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The striker was then a part of the Atletico Madrid side that beat Barcelona to the title in 2013-14, and retired in 2020 after a short stint playing alongside Iniesta at Vissel Kobe. Nowadays he’s the owner of the DV7 Group, which runs football academies around the world.
Keita was a somewhat unheralded midfield cog in that great Barcelona side. The Malian retired in 2017 after a stint with Qatar Stars League with El Jaish SC and has kept a low profile since then.
🇪🇸 David Villa has announced his plans to retire from football
Most memorable @Guaje7Villa goal? 🤔
🏆2⃣0⃣1⃣1⃣ @FCBarcelona #UCL pic.twitter.com/LYWpmNrvXf
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) November 13, 2019
ST: Lionel Messi
Barcelona’s all-time top appearance-maker and goalscorer has been linked with a romantic return to the club this summer.
The 35-year-old is a free agent following the expiration of his contract at PSG, but cash-strapped Barcelona won’t be able to offer him anything like the wages promised in Saudi Arabia.
Watch this space.
READ: 12 key figures on Lionel Messi’s Barcelona return: ‘This is his home’
FWL: Pedro (Ibrahim Afellay, ’90+2)
Pedro, shunted to the periphery in the Messi-Neymar-Suarez era, left after winning a second treble in 2013. The Spanish forward has since won the Premier League with Chelsea and represented both sides of the Italian capital’s divide with Roma and Lazio.
Afellay helped Barcelona get to the 2011 Champions League final by assisting Messi in the semi-final against Real Madrid. That proved to be the high-point of the Dutch winger’s career. He retired in 2020 after a short stint back at boyhood club PSV.
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