Best Barcelona trios of all time
“Mes que un club”, the motto that you might have already heard about, the one that strikes fear in the hearts of those opposition players entering the stadium. This motto, which translates to “more than a club”, belongs to one of the best clubs in the whole wide world, who have been able to conquer the top-flight of football on numerous occasions, winning trebles and even a sextuple throughout their history.
Barcelona have always had some of the most talented and brightest stars of each generation of footballers in their squads, with legendary icons such as Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona and Rivaldo, all blessing the club’s stadium with their presence. But in the era of modern football and the introduction of the 4-3-3 formation, many clubs, including Barcelona, have opted to follow the famous trend of creating iconic trios in the final third of the formation. This trend has subsequently resulted in the formation of some of FC Barcelona's all-time greatest trios.
The players on this list were not only a part of the greatest attacking trios in Barcelona history, but they were also some of the greatest players of their own time, with some of them still going strong as legendary stars of their countries. Of course it is safe to say that all of the players on this list are known to almost anybody who watches football but still, having an in-depth look at the history of FC Barcelona's greatest trios ever, and the trophies they have won for the club is certainly worth the time.
All-Time best attacking trios in Barcelona history
Let us take a look at some of the top iconic FC Barcelona attacking trios in football history, and see which trio achieved more trophies while attracting millions of viewers to fall in love with La Blaugranas.
Figo, Enrique, Ronaldo
You could already guess that this formidable trio belongs to the times before the Portuguese icon’s dramatic and controversial move to Barcelona’s archrivals Real Madrid. As one of the greatest attacking trios in Barcelona history, the combination of Luis Figo, Luis Enrique and Ronaldo Nazario went on to win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1997 against Paris Saint-Germain. For the sake of getting to know a bit more about the history of each player at the Catalan club, we should take a closer look at their stats and their time at Barcelona.
Regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, with second-highest number of assists in La Liga behind Lionel Messi, Luis Figo is truly an iconic footballer, who managed to play for some of the best clubs in the world, including two fierce rivals in Spain, whose rivalry simply excites everyone. Before moving to Real Madrid for a then world record fee of €62 million, Figo was the crown jewel of Barcelona’s squad, who had the honor of captaining his team through tough matches.
As a part of FC Barcelona's greatest trios ever, the Portuguese icon owes much of his success to the Catalonia based club, as it was in Barcelona that he managed to gain prominence and become an integral part of one of the best teams in the world. Although he won the 2000 Ballon d’Or award wearing the all-white kit of Real Madrid, it was thanks to his efforts at Barcelona that he managed to win the most prestigious individual award in the world.
As an immensely versatile player, Luis Figo went on to make a total of 248 appearances in La Blaugrana shirt, as he managed to score 45 goals and provide 51 assists in the process. Of course compared to the numbers that are being recorded now, these might not seem much of a big deal, but still, these numbers helped Barcelona dominate the Spanish football as they won two successive La Liga titles and two successive Spanish Cups and Super Cups.
Yet another one of the players who have represented both of the Spanish giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona throughout their careers. But this time, it was the other way around as Luis Enrique left the Spanish capital for Barcelona, contrary to Luis Figo who left Barcelona to join Real Madrid.
Enrique was a player of great versatility with an eye for open areas and a strong tactical sense which helped him see the pitch unlike any other player playing alongside or against him. He managed to make a total of 300 appearances throughout his career in Catalonia as a part of one of the greatest attacking trios in Barcelona history, as he went on to score more than 105 goals and provide 35 assists in those games.
The Spanish midfielder, who has played in every position except as a goalkeeper, while a part of FC Barcelona's all-time greatest trios, is mostly known for his success as a manager at Barcelona, who managed to win the famous continental treble with his squad, thanks to his tactical awareness which had also helped him as a player. His feats as a manager also won him the 2015 World’s Best Club Coach award.
He is currently managing the Spanish national team as he resigned from Barcelona’s managerial position in 2017, having won a Champions League trophy, two La Liga titles, three Copas del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
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Dubbed by many as the original Ronaldo, the Brazilian striker is undoubtedly one of the most prolific and talented strikers in the history of football, whose exploits in the World Cup and club football are known by almost every football fan in the 21st century. Before joining Real Madrid in the 2002 Galacticos era for almost €50 million, which was considered to be an exorbitant amount even for a world-class player, Ronaldo was in fact a part of Top iconic FC Barcelona attacking trios in football history for a single year in the 1996/97 season.
Ronaldo was without a doubt the scariest striker a defender could face throughout his entire career, and his stats at Barcelona proves how formidable the Brazilian icon actually was. In the single season Ronaldo Nazario spent at the Catalan club, he managed to score an extraordinary 47 goals and provide 12 assists in only 49 appearances. Although his time in Catalonia was short, it was enough for him to be a part of one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time.
Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Messi
Who could forget the time when the Best Barcelona trios of all time featured Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and a young, fresh and highly motivated Lionel Messi? This trio is believed to be the one that jumpstarted the golden era of Barcelona in the 21st century as three of the best football players in the world had teamed up on the frontlines to tear the opposition defenders apart. Let us see how each of them did during that time.
Who could watch Ronaldinho play football and not fall in love with the player and the game he was playing? It is a rare sight to see a player get a standing ovation at the opposition stadium, which gets even rarer when such a thing happens at the stadium of a team’s archrivals. But that is exactly what happened when Ronaldinho got a standing ovation from Madridistas at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, where even the greatest players of Real Madrid have been victims to boos and whistles.
That alone could be enough to show a player’s true quality as there should be no need to justify his nomination for being a part of one of the top iconic FC Barcelona attacking trios in football history. But still, for those of you who are curious about Ronaldinho’s stats at the Catalan club, the Brazilian legend made a total of 207 appearances for Barcelona, as he went on to score an outstanding 94 goals and provide 71 assists in those 207 games, which shows how prolific one of the most beloved footballers of all time was in his time.
Samuel Eto’o is definitely one of the best and most decorated strikers in the world, who has scored more than a total of 350 goals throughout his career, adding yet another 116 assists under his belt. Eto’o spent five seasons in Catalonia with one of the biggest clubs in the world, where he became a part of one of FC Barcelona's all-time greatest trios, teaming up with Ronaldinho and a young Lionel Messi to strike fear and terror in the hearts of the opposition defenders.
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You cannot start a golden age at a club without having a player such as Lionel Messi join your team. That is why perhaps the best years in Barcelona history began when the young Argentinian set foot at Nou Camp in 2005. From the moment Messi celebrated his first goal hopping on Ronaldinho’s back, everyone knew that the young talent would one day become one of the greatest players of all time.
You might have already guessed that Leo Messi will be with us until the end of this article, with him being a part of each and every one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time from now this part forward, as he has made himself the most vital part of the Blaugranes’ squad over the years.
Messi, Villa, Pedro
As one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time, the MVP showed everyone how to win almost everything there is to win, with Pep Guardiola, former Barca and current Manchester City manager, proving to the world that he is truly a mastermind of the game, with his tactics turning Lionel Messi to an absolute beast of a goal-scorer, with David Villa and Pedro completing the set with a lot more goals.
As part of another one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time, Leo Messi turned into an absolute nightmare for the opposition defenders during this era as he led his team to a successful couple of seasons with the help of Villa and Pedro, winning everything there was to win over the years. Unfortunately, we did not get to see more of Pep Guardiola and Messi together, as the Spaniard left the Spanish giants in 2012.
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David Villa is not only a part of one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time, he is also one of the most beloved strikers in Barcelona history, despite the short period that he actually spent at the club. this love and affection of the fans for the player comes from the fact that he managed to become an integral part of the squad as he proved to be a prolific striker in the front three, scoring 48 goals in 119 games.
Of course the stats might not be as great as some would expect, but let us not forget that Leo Messi was the main man in Guardiola’s squad, with Pedro and Villa playing more of a supporting role to help the Argentinian striker implement his brilliance week in week out.
Pedro Eliezer Rodríguez Ledesma, shortly known as Pedro to the fans of football, is a part of one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time and is also considered to be a Barcelona veteran with more than 320 games under his belt. Not every player could manage to be in form for long enough to make more than 300 appearances for a club such as Barcelona, but Pedro was certainly such a player, as he went on to score an impressive 99 goals and provide more than 60 assists during his time with the Catalan club.
The 2010 World Cup winner managed to secure 5 La Liga titles, 6 Spanish Super Cups, 3 Copas de Rey, 5 UEFA Super Cups, 3 Champions League trophies and 2 FIFA Club World Cups with his former club as he proved to be a vital part of the squad over the years he spent at Camp Nou.
Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Perhaps only Real Madrid’s BBC trio could challenge the feared MSN trio, undoubtedly one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time, which is considered by many to be the best around. Barcelona’s trident of Messi, Suarez and Neymar terrorized the opposition defenders as they proved to be the most prolific trio in the club’s history, winning Barcelona’s second treble, which was a first in all of football history.
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Yet another one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time that Leo Messi is a part of, and perhaps this trio was the one the Argentinian GOAT enjoyed and bonded with the most, as many thought he had found his heir apparent in Neymar.
Aside from how the club treated him in the end, which led to him joining Atletico Madrid in the 2020/21 season with eyes full of tears, Luis Suarez was one of the most prolific and iconic strikers in La Blaugranes’ history as he scored an outstanding 195 goals and provided 113 assists in 283 appearances over the course of six years with the club. He was part of one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time, which turned out to be something truly beautiful to watch.
Neymar was believed to be the heir apparent to Leo Messi’s throne at Barcelona, as he had already proven himself to be one of the best players in the world after joining the Catalan club in 2013. But alas, he had only moved to Barcelona to one day break the transfer fee record by moving to Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee of €222 million.
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Messi, Eto’o, Henry
The Messi, Eto’o and Henry trio is undoubtedly one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time, especially since they managed to the undoable by winning literally everything there was to win in a season as they won the sextuple under Guardiola’s management.
We might have already talked about Lionel Messi as he was named in almost all of the Best Barcelona trios of all time, but he is undoubtedly worth talking about this much and even much more, as no one, except for his generational rival Cristiano Ronaldo, has ever been able to reach his level. Since the years, The Argentine striker has turned into an idol at Barcelona, gaining such power that even the club’s former president Josep Maria Bartomeu could not stand against him, as he had to resign from his position as president in order to keep Messi happy.
Samuel Eto’o is only the second player, after Lionel Messi, to have featured on this list about the Best Barcelona trios of all time for a second time. The Cameroonian icon helped his team win a number of domestic and continental trophies, including two Champions League trophies, three La Liga titles and two Spanish Cups and Super Cups.
His stats at Barcelona and as a part of one of the Best Barcelona trios of all time gets even more amazing. He managed to score an outstanding 130 goals in 199 games that he played for the Spanish giants, while also providing 40 assists in the process as well, which truly made him a pain in the neck for the opposition defenders.
Although many might remember him for his exploits at Arsenal and consider him to be an Arsenal legend (which he definitely is), Thierry Henry is also a part of Barcelona’s most important years and its history. The French icon teamed up with Eto’o and Lionel Messi to create one of the deadliest trios the world had ever seen, as they literally conquered the world of football by winning all the six competitions and cups available in a season, which brought the famous sextuple to the Catalan club’s museum.
Over the course of three seasons, Henry went on to make a total of 121 appearances across all competitions and managed to score 49 goals and provide 27 assists in those games, which showed the true class of an iconic striker who played both as a center-forward and as a winger.
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That ends our list of Barcelona’s best attacking trios ever, who all managed to do the undoable by winning something that was considered to be impossible to win. Each of these trios made history during their time at Barcelona. All the players on this list have either retired or moved to other clubs in pursuit of more glory, with Lionel Messi being the only player who has stayed loyal to his club.
Of course there were serious talks about him leaving the club as he did not even show up to training in the beginning of the 2020/21 season. For now, however, Messi is still playing for his club as the future looks uncertain for the player who has been a part of almost all of Barcelona’s best trios in the 21st century. We will have to wait and see how things are going to turn out for La Blaugranes from now on, as they look to find their next best trio.