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By ESPN Staff

Barcelona - Squad Profiles

Victor Valdes (goalkeeper)
Born:
14.01.82
Nationality:
Spanish

Victor Valdes

The next big thing in Spanish goal keeping has lost his way somewhat after making a decent start to the season. Valdes got himself into trouble with the club's management after some off field problems and he hit the headlines after missing training in November. That incident forced him to issue a public apology, but he is young enough to bounce back.

May well give him another chance in the second phase of this Champions League campaign as he played in the opening group of this competition and did well.


Group A: Barcelona | Bayer Leverkusen | Inter Milan | Newcastle
Group B: Ajax Amsterdam | Arsenal | AS Roma | Valencia
Group C: AC Milan | Borussia Dortmund | L Moscow | Real Madrid
Group D: Basle | Deportivo | Juventus | Manchester Utd

Roberto Bonano (goalkeeper)
Born: 24.01.70
Nationality: Argentine

Made his way into the Argentina squad for the World Cup finals, but Bonano failed to make an appearance in their ill-fated campaign in Japan and South Korea.

The recent problems for previous Barca No.1, young Victor Valdes, have opened the door for this stopper to confirm his position between the sticks and he has been kept busy in their difficult start to the domestic season.

A reliable performer at the highest level.

Robert Enke (goalkeeper)
Born: 24.08.77
Nationality: German

A summer arrival from Benfica, coach Louis van Gaal identified the goalkeeping position as a weakness in last season's Barca side.

Roberto Bonano is the owner of the No.1 shirt at the Nou Camp, but it seems Enke is a favourite of Van Gaal.

The ongoing problems surrounding rival keeper Victor Valdes has boosted Enke's hopes of regular first team action and he was used in the first phase of the Champions League.

Michael Reiziger (defender)
Born: 03.05.73
Nationality: Dutch

A Barcelona veteran who was at the club during Louis van Gaal's first stint as manager, he remains an integral part of the first team plans.

A powerful and athletic figure, his bursts from the back are always a threat and he is capable of delivering that killer pass.

Started out at Ajax alongside many of this current Dutch national team, he struggled in a spell at AC Milan before heading for the Nou Camp.

Frank de Boer (defender)
Born: 15.05.70
Nationality: Dutch

The calming influence at the back.

A cultured centre-back and fine captain, the twin brother of Glasgow Rangers midfielder Ronald controls the game from the back when at his best. A highly experienced performer at the highest level.

Fernando Navaro (defender)
Born: 25.06.82
Nationality: Spanish

A youngster who has shot to prominence in the Barca side of late, he has been in impressive form this season. A locally-born star, he made his way through the club's youth team ranks and looked impressive throughout the first phase of the Champions League.

Tipped to be a regular international in years to come, he has the raw materials to develop into a star ahead of the Euro 2004 finals.

Carles Puyol (defender)
Born: 13.04.78
Nationality: Spanish

Carles Puyol

A star of Spain's side in the World Cup finals last summer, Puyol is a key man at the heart of defence.

A relative newcomer to the international scene, he is a graduate of the club's youth team and made his way into the first team ranks during the 1999/2000 campaign.

Steady and reliable, this hard rock and heavy metal loving local lad has the pleasing habit of chipping in with the odd important goal each season and has many years ahead of him at the top of the game.

Patrick Andersson (defender)
Born: 18.08.71
Nationality: Swedish

Injuries have deprived club and country of Andersson's services in the last year and his heartbreak was completed as he was a frustrated reserve for the World Cup finals with a groin problem.

He has been on the sidelines for the start of the campaign, but this consistent and solid defender could play a role in the second phase of this competition.

Won the Bundesliga and Champions League in 2001 before moving to the Nou Camp. A great reader of the game, he is a rock at the heart of the defence.

Garcia Gabri (midfielder)
Born: 10.02.79
Nationality: Spanish

A star of the Barcelona youth team side, Gabri started to make his mark in the Barcelona first team during Louis van Gaal's first stint in charge at the Nou Camp.

In what has been a difficult start to the season in domestic football for Barca, he was a shining star and also impressed in his Champions League outings.

A real threat in the attacking third, he provides support to the strikers and is always committed to the cause, often picking up yellow cards in the process.

Xavi Hernandez (midfielder)
Born: 25.01.80
Nationality: Spanish

Another product of the Barca youth team ranks, many have compared Xavi to the departed Nou Camp legend Josep Guardiola.

A midfield play maker with real quality, his debut came in the 1998 Super Cup match against Mallorca. A star in Barca's run to the Champions League semi-finals last season, he is a local lad who gets great support from the Nou Camp faithful.

A workaholic in the midfield who puts in the energy that allows the stars to shine.

Gaizka Mendieta (midfielder)
Born: 27.03.74
Nationality: Spanish

Mendieta

Included in the Spain team for the World Cup finals last summer despite the fact he endured a difficult season in Italy with Lazio.

He returned home with Barcelona has allowed him to prove his worth at first team level each week once again and there is little doubt that Mendieta is a rare talent.

Made his name at Valencia, where he sparkled in the Champions League year after year. An attacking midfielder blessed with a touch of class.

Philip Cocu (midfielder)
Born: 29.10.70
Nationality: Dutch

A player who rarely grabs the headlines, but he does an invaluable job in winning the ball and giving it to the more gifted players to strut their stuff.

Previously with PSV, he would be wanted by most top European clubs if he became available and was linked with a move to Arsenal last season.

The Dutch have a habit of producing spectacular performers, yet Cocu is more of the unsung hero type.

Marc Overmars (midfielder)
Born: 29.03.73
Nationality: Dutch

A familiar figure to all Arsenal followers after his successful stint at Highbury, the flying winger was a key part of their Double winning side in 1998, scoring the crucial winning goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford to set up Premiership title glory and another in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.

Overmars has enjoyed mixed success at Barcelona after his £20m-plus move in 2000 and he has been a fringe player once again this season.

At his best, he is a winger with few peers in the game, but he has been a long way from that of late.

Fabio Rochenback (midfielder)
Born: 10.12.81
Nationality: Brazilian

Barcelona won the race to sign Rochenback last year and he has been developing well without nailing down a first team spot on a consistent basis.

A youngster who made four appearances in the first phase of the Champions League, he is a battler more than a silky star and not in the traditional mode associated with Brazilians.

A real threat with his shots from long range, his is at home in the heart of the midfield.

Luis Enrique (midfielder)
Born: 08.05.70
Nationality: Spanish

A little master who walked into a storm of controversy when he completed a move from Real Madrid to their arch-rvials Barcelona in 1996, he has been a star turn at the Nou Camp ever since.

A consistent goal scorer from the midfield, Enrique scored a couple of fine goals in the first phase of the Champions League.

Started his career at Sporting Gijon and was an automatic pick for the Spanish national side in last summer's World Cup finals.

Thiago Motta (midfielder)
Born: 28.08.82
Nationality: Italian

This has been a breakthrough season for young Motta as Louis van Gaal has given him plenty of chances to shine in the Barca first team.

A graduate of the club's B side, he made his first team breakthrough last term and gathered valuable Champions League experience in last season's run to the semi-finals.

He has spent long enough at Barca to be considered to be a naturalised Sp aniard and while he still has a lot to learn, Motta has the raw materials to become a real star.

Patrick Kluivert (forward)
Born: 01.07.76
Nationality: Dutch

Tipped to follow in the footsteps of Holland greats Marco van Basten & Dennis Bergkamp from an early age, his rapid rise to the top was capped when he scored in Ajax's Champions League Final triumph of 1995.

Worked alongside Van Gaal at Ajax and the Dutchman then took him to Barcelona in 1997.

His lavish lifestyle has got him into trouble at times, but he is a class act who can turn a half chance into a goal.

Kluivert scored twice in the first phase of this season's Champions League.

Javier Saviola (forward)
Born: 11.12.81
Nationality: Argentine

Javier Saviola

Started in the reserve side of Argentinos Juniors and it wasn't long before the giants of Argentina came calling. River Plate and Boca Juniors made their move and Saviola opted for Boca.

After shining there, it was inevitable that he would eventually make the move to a major European club.

A highly gifted forward with plenty of tricks in his locker, he has been hailed as the next world superstar for some time and has started to show some fine form this season.

Has been compared to the legendary Argentine Diego Maradona, who also had a stint at Barcelona.

Dani Garcia (forward)
Born: 22.12.74
Nationality: Spanish

Signed from Mallorca in the summer of 1999 and he has proved himself to be a valuable first team member in the years since.

Something of a fringe player in the first half of the season, but he did manage to make an impact in the first phase of the Champions League as he scored in Barca's impressive 3-1 win over Galatasaray.

He was a huge success as he made a quick impact at the Nou Camp, but has been hit and miss in the last couple of seasons.

Juan Riquelme (forward)
Born: 24.06.78
Nationality: Argentina

Signed from Boca Juniors, he was one of the few new arrivals at the Nou Camp during the summer.

A full international, he has failed to nail down a regular spot in the international side, but his good form for Barca this season should stand him in good stead in that regard.

Rivaldo's departure to AC Milan during the summer gave Riquelme the chance to make his mark and he is battling for a first team spot among the other stars.

Geovanni (forward)
Born: 11.01.80
Nationality: Brazilian

Scored in Barca's final Champions League game during the first phase, but he has some way to go before establishing himself in the first team.

Signed from Cruzeiro in the summer of 2001, the time has come for him to justify his worth at the Nou Camp, he was recommended to the club by Rivaldo.

At home at the front end of the midfield, he can also be employed as an out and out striker.