Five players who thrived after leaving Barcelona including Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

MOST footballers dream of lining up for Barcelona but some only start realising their potential AFTER they leave the Catalan giants.

The LaLiga side possess the world renowned La Masia academy which churns out technically gifted superstars, but not all of them go on to find success in the first team.

Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are two players who thrived after leaving Barcelona

And even senior players that grace the Nou Camp stage have jumped ship and ended up having better careers elsewhere.

SunSport takes a look at five stars who thrived after bidding farewell to Barca.



Yaya Toure upped his game after quitting the Nou Camp

Midfielder Yaya Toure left Barcelona in 2010 to join Manchester City in a move which cost around £25million.

It would prove a bargain as the Ivorian became one of the stand-out performers in the world game.

A bit-part defensive midfielder at the Nou Camp, Toure transformed into a stunning box-to-box maestro under Roberto Mancini.

In eight trophy-laden years, Toure scored 79 goals and notched 50 assists in 316 games for the Citizens.

Toure won three Premier League titles and an FA Cup to mark an incredible upturn in his career.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic kept the ball rolling after he ended his time with Barcelona

Swedish striker and cult hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 39, caused shockwaves when he moved to Barca from Inter Milan in a swap deal with Samuel Eto’o in 2009.

But his spell in Catalonia did not go to plan as his relationship with boss Pep Guardiola soured and he was sent out on loan to AC Milan in 2010.

Ibrahimovic mustered just 22 goals in 46 appearances for the Blaugrana but has had a prolific time of it in the subsequent decade.

After joining Milan permanently, he left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 and became a Ligue 1 scoring sensation with 156 goals in 180 appearances, winning four consecutive league titles.

The seemingly ageless forward then bagged 29 goals in 53 games during a short stint at Old Trafford before returning to the Rossoneri where he now leads the Serie A Golden Boot race with seven goals in four matches.


Cesc Fabregas impressed after leaving Barcelona

Cesc Fabregas incredibly left Barcelona TWICE and both times went on to perform incredibly well away from his boyhood club.

The Spanish midfielder, 33, came through the ranks at La Masia but was poached by Arsenal as a 16-year-old in 2003.

Fast tracked into Arsene Wenger’s side, he made 304 appearances for the Gunners with 57 goals and 92 assists before returning to the Nou Camp in 2011.

But after struggling to nail down a starting spot, he left again for the Premier League in 2014 and returned to London with Chelsea.

He made 198 appearances for the Blues with 57 assists and 22 goals to his name picking up two Prem titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup and the Europa League.


Alexis Sanchez’s stock rocketed after he left Barcelona

Chilean Alexis Sanchez left Barcelona to join Arsenal in 2014 after the arrival of Neymar from Santos.

After largely featuring off the bench for Barca, Sanchez turned himself into one of the deadliest forwards around in North London, smashing 60 goals and landing 25 assists in 122 Premier League games.

His versatility, pace and skills saw him take to the English game straight away and he earned a move to Manchester United in January 2018.

His time at Old Trafford was infamously unsuccessful, but the 31-year-old – now at Inter Milan – came on leaps and bounds away from the Barca spotlight and saw his value sky rocket.


Thiago matured as a playmaker away from Barcelona

Thiago, 29, made his senior Barca debut in 2009 and made over 100 appearances for the Catalan side.

But he never cemented a starting role and – after moving to Bayern Munich in 2013 – took his career to new heights as one of the game’s best playmakers.

Blessed with superb vision and an array of passing, the Spanish genius helped Bayern stroll to SEVEN Bundesliga titles on the bounce.

He signed off in some style with the Bavarian champs by winning last season’s Champions League before arriving in the Premier League with Liverpool, where he is already starting to make heads turn.


By: Josh Graham
Title: Five players who thrived after leaving Barcelona including Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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Published Date: Wed, 04 Nov 2020 12:29:58 +0000

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