Ronaldinho under house arrest in Paraguay, a midfielder sacked by Genoa after 10 games and a striker helping to fight coronavirus… 15 years on from Lionel Messi’s first senior goal for Barcelona, where are all of his team-mates from that famous day?
- Lionel Messi scored his first senior goal for Barcelona on May 1, 2005
- The Argentine announced himself to the Nou Camp with a goal against Albacete
- He played alongside the likes of Ronaldinho, Deco and Carles Puyol on that day
- But where are the other members of that team and what are they doing now?
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
It is 15 years to the day that arguably football’s greatest-ever player scored his first senior goal for Barcelona.
Lionel Messi announced himself at the Nou Camp with a beautiful chipped finish against Albacete on May 1, 2005 and has gone on to have a stunning career for the Spanish giants.
On that day he shared the pitch with Ronaldinho, Carles Puyol and Samuel Eto’o among others, but Sportsmail has found where the rest of his team-mates from that momentous occasion are now.
Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his first senior Barcelona goal on this day in 2005
Barcelona: Valdes, Belletti, Oleguer, Puyol, Van Bronckhorst, Marquez (Motta 62), Iniesta, Deco, Giuly, Ronaldinho, Eto’o (Messi 88).
Subs not used: Jorquera, Navarro, Sylvinho, Albertini, Lopez.
Goals: Eto’o 66, Messi 90+1
Booked: Puyol, Eto’o, Deco, Motta
Victor Valdes – Goalkeeper
After winning six LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues, Valdes called time on his Barcelona career in the summer of 2014. When a bad knee injury led to a move to Monaco collapsing, he eventually signed with Manchester United.
After playing back up to David De Gea for the rest of that season, Valdes left the club after a bitter fall out. He signed on loan for Standard Liege and was then let go for nothing and picked up by Middlesbrough on a free.
He failed to replicate the form he had showed at the Nou Camp and was let go in July 2017. Valdes officially retired from football in January 2018. He decided to take up coaching and took the reigns of Barcelona’s under-19 side but he was sacked just months later.
After a stunning career, Victor Valdes ended up at Middlesbrough before eventually retiring
Juliano Belletti – Right Back
The Brazilian played for Barcelona for three years before leaving the club in 2007 ahead of Dani Alves’ arrival as the club’s new first-choice right back 12 months later.
He scored the winner in the 2006 Champions League final against Arsenal and won two league titles before going on to enjoy further success at Chelsea. Belletti is now a club ambassador.
Belletti once recalled how Messi left him red faced during one training session as a youngster.
‘When Messi came out of the B team, Frank Rijkaard put him in with us in an 11 against 11 on a small pitch,’ he explained.
Juliano Belletti is a club ambassador and has told a story of how Messi once embarrassed him
‘He was on the substitute team and I was with the starters. Iniesta caught my attention and asked me if I knew him (Messi). I said no and he warned me: “Be careful, eh”.
‘When he first got on the ball, I thought: “Damn! This kid is cheeky!”
‘Then, when I was preparing to approach him and take the ball off him, he’d already gone past me and scored a goal. He ran right through me.’
Oleguer – Centre Back
The defender left the Nou Camp in 2008 and moved to Ajax. He spent three years in Amsterdam, winning the Eredivisie once before calling time on his playing career in 2011.
Now Oleguer is a political activist and campaigns for Catalonia’s independence. He also has a degree in economics and is also a published author.
Oleguer, pictured in 2013, is a political activist and campaigns for Catalonia’s independence
Carles Puyol – Centre Back
The curly-haired defender was the embodiment of Barcelona for so many years, winning titles over a 15-year period that made him one of the most successful players to ever play the game.
He stayed at the Nou Camp his whole career, winning six LaLiga titles and the Champions League on three occasions. He also won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 and Euro 2008.
Puyol left the club at the end of the 2013-14 season and is now enjoying his retirement. He has been linked with a sensational return to Barcelona as sporting director in recent months.
Carles Puyol has been heavily linked with a return to Barcelona in the role of sporting director
Giovanni van Bronckhorst – Left Back
The Dutchman left Barcelona in 2007 and had another three years as a player with Feyernoord before retiring after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He wanted to cut his teeth in management and became assistant manager at the Rotterdam club in 2011. Van Bronckhorst then got the manager’s job in 2015 and led Feyernoord to the league title in 2016-17 before leaving the club in the summer of 2019.
The 45-year-old returned to management earlier this year when he was appointed by Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F in January.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst returned to management earlier this year with Guangzhou R&F
Rafael Marquez – Defensive midfield
The Mexican was a centre back by trade but could effortlessly slot into the base of the midfield trio to shield the defence and start attacks.
After seven years at the Nou Camp, Marquez left for the MLS and the lights of New York City, signing for the New York Red Bulls in 2010. He spent two years there before playing in his native Mexico for Leon and returning to Europe for a stint with Hellas Verona.
In December 2015 Marquez returned to Atlas, the club he started his career with, and eventually called time on his playing career in 2018. He took over as sporting director for a year and is now said to be looking for a similar job in Europe.
Andres Iniesta – Centre Midfield
A stalwart of the Barcelona midfield for 16 years, Iniesta only left the Nou Camp in 2018 after winning multiple titles with the Catalan giants.
He was also a key part of the Spanish team that won three international tournaments in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
Now 35, Iniesta is still running games from midfield but now plays in the Japanese J1 League with Vissel Kobe.
Andres Iniesta only recently left Barcelona and now plays in the J1 League with Vissel Kobe
Deco – Centre Midfield
Deco was an outrageously talented midfielder but like, Ronaldinho, seemed to like to party a little too much.
Former Barcelona team-mate Alexander Hleb claimed that Ronaldinho was eventually sold by Barcelona because he and Deco used to come to training drunk.
‘They were afraid he would bring down Lionel Messi,’ Hleb claimed.
Things got worse for the former Chelsea star in 2013 when he tested positive for a banned substance in Brazil. The football authorities and Deco came to a settlement and he was found not guilty of doping.
After retiring, Deco chose to remain in Brazil and has reportedly forged a new career for himself as a player agent.
After retiring, Deco chose to remain in Brazil and has forged a new career as a player agent
Ludovic Giuly – Right Midfield
The Frenchman was only at Barcelona for three years but still won two league titles and the Champions League.
Giuly was probably the player impacted most by Messi’s arrival onto the scene as the Argentine would go on to take his position on the right of attack for years to come.
After leaving Barcelona, Giuly played for Roma, PSG, Monaco before retiring in 2016 after a spell at boyhood club Monts d’Or Azergues Foot. He is now an assistant coach for Monaco’s B team.
After leaving Barcelona and retiring in 2016, Giuly is an assistant coach for Monaco’s B team
Ronaldinho – Left Midfield
One of the most creative and talented players of his generation, Ronaldinho had spells at AC Milan and at clubs in his native Brazil before hanging up his boots in January 2018.
But his life has taken a bizarre twist in recent weeks with the Brazilian placed under house arrest after being picked up alongside his brother by Paraguayan authorities for using a fake passport.
Still under investigation, he is under house arrest at the Palmaroga hotel in the capital of Asuncion, having originally spent 32 days in prison.
Ronaldinho has been placed under house arrest in Paraguay after using a fake passport
Samuel Eto’o – Striker
The Cameroonian left Barcelona in 2009 and went on to have further success at Inter Milan before bouncing around clubs in England, Turkey, Italy and Russia.
Now retired, Eto’o is doing his bit to tackle the coronavirus, promising supplies to 100,000 people in his home country.
The 39-year-old donated face masks, hand sanitisers, soaps and food through his Samuel Eto’o foundation. The vital supplies will be sent to 50,000 households across four cities in the African nation.
Samuel Eto’o is helping tackle coronavirus in his country by donating supplies to 100k people
Thiago Motta (replaced Marquez)
After six years with Barcelona, Motta stayed in Spain and enjoyed a brief spell at Atletico Madrid. He then had spells at Genoa and Inter Milan before moving to PSG for the final few years of his career.
Now making his way into management, Motta was sacked by Genoa after just 10 matches earlier in the season.
Former midfielder Thiago Motta was sacked by Genoa after 10 matches earlier in the season
A goalkeeper, Jorquera played for Barcelona for 15 years but made just a handful of first-team appearances. After leaving in 2009 he signed for Girona and played there for three years before retiring.
After quitting football, Jorquera studied for a gemology degree at the University of Barcelona and went into the family’s jewellery business.
Navarro’s career really took off when he moved away from Barcelona. After a stint at Mallorca, he signed for Sevilla in 2008 and made over 200 appearances in an seven-year spell.
He retired in 2018 at Deportivo La Coruna and in May 2019 joined Sevilla’s sporting management team under the supervision of Monchi.
Fernando Navarro retired in 2018 and works in Sevilla’s sporting management with Monchi (L)
The former Arsenal and Brazil full back left Barcelona in 2009 and went on to play a handful of times for Manchester City in England before retiring.
In 2011 he was appointed assistant manager of Cruzeiro and also worked as a No 2 at Inter Milan and for the Brazil national team.
In May 2019 he was given his first management job at Lyon, replacing the outgoing Bruno Genesio but did not last long and was sacked in October 2019.
In May 2019, Sylvinho was given his first management job at Lyon but did not last long
The AC Milan legend was a January transfer in the 2004-05 season and managed to win LaLiga in his brief time at the club before retiring that summer.
He has since held various administrative roles within football at the Italian governing body and has worked closely with Serie A side Parma.
It is also believed that he is a researcher for hit video game Football Manager.
A composed midfielder, Lopez enjoyed spells at both Barcelona and Valencia during his playing career and decided to retire in 2011 after a spell at Girona.
In October 2013, he had the tough job of replacing Johan Cruyff as the manager of the Catalonia team. He stayed there for three years before Lopez returned to Barcelona to coach their B team. Again, he stayed for three years before being relieved of his duties.
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