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Hit or miss? Six stars Barcelona let leave

Not many players leave Barcelona to go on to better things and, as recent buy-back clauses in La Masia youngsters Gerard Deulofeu and Adama Traore’s contracts show, the Catalans are keen on insurance policies.

However, Barca have allowed some high-profile players to depart in recent seasons, with Pedro just the latest. Have, or will, the Nou Camp club come to rue any exits? Coral experts consider…

Thiago Alcantara
Germany Soccer Champions League
Perhaps not a superstar at the time, Italy-born Spain capped Thiago seemed a huge loss from the Barca academy, as he switched to Bayern Munich for a bargain fee.

Yet, the composed midfield schemer’s time at the Allianz Arena has been riddled by injuries and, though his talent is evident, he is still to prove a consistent fixture.

Samuel Eto’o
Spain Soccer Champions League
A once formidable forward, it was the temperament and teamplay of Eto’o that was frequently called into question.

Having hit 129 in 198 for the Catalans, the club, and apparently unconvinced coach Pep Guardiola, rather ruthlessly traded the Cameroonian in a part-exchange deal with Inter Milan for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Although Barca have lifted another treble since Eto’o left, it was he who proved his point first, winning a trio of trophies with Inter and beating his former club along the way in 2010.

Cesc Fabregas
Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Atletico Madrid v Barcelona - Vicente Calderon Stadium
Fabregas famously left La Masia for further development with Arsenal, though the conductor’s top-notch performances soon saw Barca seek to bring their prodigal son home.

Once back in the Nou Camp fold, however, Fabregas found his face no longer fit, and failed to show his true talents consistently in a less direct set-up.

He may now be a Premier League winner with Chelsea, but Barcelona found a superior style with Ivan Rakitic in their ranks, so were right to let the Spaniard fly the nest again.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - Nou Camp
One of the Catalan’s rare transfer faux pas, swapping one controversial character in Eto’o for another in Ibrahimovic was an unwise move.

The superstar Swede could not conform, and would not play second fiddle to Lionel Messi, so Guardiola somewhat wasted a season of the striker’s career.

Of course, Barca won everything under Guardiola, but had he found a way to slot Ibrahimovic into the puzzle, the powerful poacher’s directness and explosive play could have seen them prove far less predictable.

Pedro
Spain Soccer La Liga
A little too early to call on this one, but signs point to a loss for transfer-banned Barcelona (3/1 with Coral to win the Champions League) here.

The Spanish giants lost homegrown hero Pedro due to lack of game time, and could see him really shine with Chelsea now the shackles are off and the Spaniard is released from his bit-part role.

Luis Enrique may struggle to replace the super-sub, at least in the short-term.

Victor Valdes
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Southampton - Old Trafford
In hindsight it is easy to say Barcelona lucked out here by seeing decorated stopper Valdes exit on a Bosman.

The long-serving custodian was crucial in Barca’s build-up play, but is not considered among the echelons of truly great keepers.

After recovering from a long injury lay-off, Valdes is now frozen out at Manchester United, following a fall-out with former Nou Camp coach Louis van Gaal.

The Catalans, odds-on at 4/7 to retain La Liga, meanwhile, have two excellent custodians in Claudio Bravo and long-term successor Marc-Andre ter Stegen seamlessly sharing duties.