The ones that got away: Five players Barcelona regret letting go of

Former Barcelona stars

Paco Alacacer has now scored 10 goals in 294 minutes for Borussia Dortmund and Spain combined. The Spanish striker, on loan from Barcelona, has hit a purple patch recently and this prompted us to come up with a list of players that the Catalan giants have regretted letting go of in the recent years. 

There isn’t much wrong Barcelona can do when it comes to signing players. Their youth system is quite incredible and the coaches and academy staff are top notch. The quality of coaching is a testament to the fabric of the club and how things are run from top to bottom. After all, you don’t just find players like Lionel Messi by accident.

But nothing is perfect, and even the mighty Blaugrana are prone to mistakes every now and then. While their academy is responsible for producing some of the biggest superstars ever, they may have lost the plot when it comes to recognising at least a few talents who have gone on and honed their craft elsewhere.

Not everyone is capable of being a Messi, but the scouts at Barca would feel hard done by looking at where these players ended up and the success they managed to achieve. The Barcelona of today might have looked a whole lot different had these footballers stayed put in Catalonia.

5. PACO ALCACER (on loan at Borussia Dortmund)

Paco Alcacer is a name that springs to mind considering the massive success the striker has managed in a very short period of time. He may have been on the permanent rolls of the senior Barcelona team since 2016, but Alcacer has only just come to the limelight, after a loan move to Dortmund.

While it does seem likely that the Catalans would want to get him back soon enough, reports have emerged that BVB have the option to make the move a permanent one for a mere £20.2 million. If this turns out to be true, Barca will definitely regret not keeping him for another season especially considering their relative concerns in front of goal. Alcacer is scoring for fun these days, and Barcelona have been left wondering what might have been.

4. ALEXIS SANCHEZ (Manchester United)

The prolific Chilean has been mixing it up with the Premier League’s best for a while now, but that wasn’t always the case. Sanchez was at Barcelona before moving to England with Arsenal.

Barcelona were planning a major coup for Luis Suarez at the time, and with Neymar Jr and Messi forming a solid partnership in the front line, there was no space for Sanchez at the Nou Camp. Their loss though, because the Chilean went on to score plenty at Arsenal and then secured a high-profile move to Manchester United.

3. YAYA TOURE (Olympiacos FC)

Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure will be remembered for his tremendous skill, pace and strength and it seems rather odd that any team would want to get rid of a player who has that sort of variety in his repertoire.

Toure was hugely successful during his time at the Spanish giants and won a Champions League along with the domestic crown. A big money move to Manchester City presented itself at the turn of the decade, however, and Barca obliged. Toure adopted a more attacking role at his new club and scored goals, winning the Premier League in the process and reminding his former employers just what he was capable of.

2. SAMUEL ETO’O  (Qatar SC)

Another African joins this list, with Samuel Eto’o, a player who was once considered among the best in the game, during a time when Barcelona were emerging as world beaters.

Eto’o won the prestigious African Player of the Year award three times in a row while at the La Liga giants, and won two UCL trophies with the side. He was off-loaded to Inter Milan by Pep Guardiola soon after and he responded by winning the Champions League again in 2010, this time under Jose Mourinho at the expense of his former employer in the semifinal. Barca fans were left with a bitter taste in their mouths.

1. Mauro Icardi (Internazionale)

We all know Mauro Icardi today as the talented striker playing for Inter Milan. But few would know that the Argentine was actually a youth player at Barcelona, and had all the makings of a successful player even back then.

Why, then, a supremely gifted athlete such as him was allowed to leave the Catalans is baffling, and a decision that the Barcelona scouts will surely regret. After a few frustrating seasons in the Barca youth setup, he moved to Italy with Sampdoria before striking gold with Inter where he plies his trade today.