Long before Rijkaard’s and Guardiola’s Champions League winning teams, the first fantasy team to capture the Champions League and end a long agonizing wait for Barcelona fans was the Cruyff managed “Dream Team”. May 20th, 1992 is the date that FC Barcelona finally won the big cup that had always eluded it. The heartbreak of losing to Benfica and Steaua Bucuresti were finally forgotten when FC Barcelona defeated Sampdoria 1-0 in the famed Wembley Stadium. Ronald Koeman’s free-kick goal with only nine minutes left in extra time clinched the club’s first Champions Cup. 19 years have since passed and the competition is now known as the Champions League. We now look at where life took the players after their time at the club had come to an end. Guest writer Ibrahim Ayyub finds out where the players from the dream team currently are.
The starting eleven from that final were:
Andoni Zubizarreta, Albert Ferrer, Ronald Koeman, Nando, Juan Carlos, Josep Guardiola, Eusebio Sacristán, José Maria Bakero, Michael Laudrup, Julio Salinas, Hristo Stoichkov.
Zubizarreta was the starting keeper for the “Dream Team” that won four straight league titles. He kept a clean sheet against Sampdoria that resulted in Barcelona winning the holy grail of European football. However, his last game with the club would be the awful 4-0 loss to Milan in the “Dream Team’s” last appearance in a European Cup final. He would then play four more years with Valencia before retiring as the all-time appearance record holder in Spanish league history with 622 matches. Zubi is also the most capped player for the Spanish National team.
After retiring from playing in 1998, he became a sports commentator for RNE in 1998 and for TVE for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 Champions League games. In 2001, Zubi was hired as Sports Director for his first team Athletic Bilbao and would retain that position for three years until his dismissal. He now spends his time as a leadership skills consultant with Make A team, an Inmark Group’s business unit focused on human resources training. He also provided commentary for RTVE’s Champions League broadcasts. He is now currently the Sporting Director of FC Barcelona.
Albert “Chapi” Ferrer was the right back for this team. He started out as a youth player in the mid 80’s and joined the team in 1990 after a year at CD Tenerife on loan. He would remain on this team for eight years and win 5 league titles, 1 Champions Cup, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup, and 3 Copa Del Rey trophies along with other trophies. He would then join Chelsea for five years until his retirement in 2003. He currently is a sports commentator for TV3, La Sexta, and has made some appearances on Sky Sports News and Sky’s Revista De La Liga this past season. He was appointed as the new head coach of Vitesse Arnhem in the Dutch League back in October. Unfortunately, his stint with Vitesse was a poor one which saw his side finish in 15th place and he was let go in June. Hopefully this means we will see more of him on Revista again.
The Dutchman Koeman joined Barcelona in the summer of 1989 from PSV Eindhoven. Koeman was an attacking defender for the “Dream Team” and was known as one of their best free kick and penalty kicks taker and also for his long distance goals such as his goal against Porto. His free kick goal in the final against Sampdoria will always be remembered by fans as the goal that finally won the club what had been missing from their museum. Koeman bid farewell to the club in the summer of 1995 when he returned to Holland to play for Feyenoord for two more years until he retired.
After his retirement, Koeman went into coaching where he served as an assistant manager to Guus Hiddink with Holland in the 1998 World Cup and would then get his first managerial position with Dutch Club Vitesse in 2000. He then would leave Vitesse in mid-season to take the Ajax job and went on to win the domestic double. He would win another league title but his four year tenure was full of disappointing results.
He would resign from Ajax and then manage Benfica, who would be eliminated by Barcelona in the 2005-2006 Champions League Quarter-Finals, then replace Hiddink at PSV and win the Dutch league title, and then replace Quique Flores at Valencia early into the 2007-2008 season and endure a crazy and disappointing season at Valencia, even though he managed to win the Copa Del Rey. He was appointed as the new manager of the Dutch club AZ after replacing former Barcelona manager Louis van Gaal back in 2009. Unfortunately, AZ fired Koeman 16 games into the season. He is now the current manager of the Dutch club Feyenoord after getting the job back in July.
Fernando Muñoz García spent two seasons at Barcelona as their starting defensive center back. He joined the club in 1990 from Sevilla and after this cup final, would end up going to Real Madrid for four years and then Barça’s other club rival, Espanyol, in 1996, and retire there in 2001 because of injuries. Unfortunately, he is no longer involved with football and is enjoying his retirement in Sevilla as he dabbles in real estate transactions.
Juan Carlos Rodríguez Moreno, aka Juan Carlos, joined the “Dream Team” from Atlético Madrid for the 1991-1992 season. He was a fullback who could play on the left or the right. He started in the final against Sampdoria but did not even make it to the bench for the Milan final. Juan Carlos stayed at the club for three years and left after the 93-94 season, spending a year at Valencia and then four more years at his original club, Real Valladolid, until his retirement after the 98-99 season.
In his retirement, he represented the Castile and León autonomous football team in 2002 and currently is the president of the “Asociación de Veteranos” (Veterans Association) of Real Valladolid, a position he has held since 2005. He also managed the Castile and León autonomous football team for one match back in 2002.
What more can be said of “Dream Team” member Josep Guardiola? After his great career with FC Barcelona, he would go to play in Italy for Roma and Brescia, Qatar’s Al-Ahli, and ended his playing career in Mexico with Dorados de Sinaloa in 2006.
He then took a year off from football before returning to FC Barcelona to be the Barcelona B manager. His first year with Barcelona B would be successful as the club clinched promotion to the Segunda División B. He then would be offered the dream job of managing FC Barcelona after Frank Rijkaard was let go following the conclusion of the 2007-2008 season. The rest is history. In his first year on the job, Guardiola became the first manager in Spanish football history to win the treble after FC Barcelona won the league, Copa Del Rey and Champions League title during the 2008-2009 season. He became just one of the few managers to have won the Champions League trophy for the same club as a player and manager. He now has won 12 titles as Barça’s manager, surpassing Johan Cruyff as the most successful manager in the history of the club with three league titles, two Champions League titles, three Supercopas, two UEFA Super Cups, one Copa Del Rey and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Eusebio joined FC Barcelona from Atlético Madrid before the 1988-1989 season started and would go on to be part of the midfield of the “Dream Team.” During his time with the club, he would win 4 consecutive league titles, a Cup Winners’ Cup and the European Champions Cup. Following the 1994-1995 season, he would go on to play for Celta Vigo and Real Valladolid before retiring from football in 2002.
He would return to the club as Frank Rijkaard’s assistant in which he and Ten Cate helped Rijkaard manage the club and win two consecutive league titles and also a Champions League title. He would end up leaving the club when Rijkaard was dismissed. He would get his first managerial position when Celta Vigo hired him in March 2009 but he was let go in June 2010. Currently, he is back with Barça as Luis Enrique’s replacement for the Barça B managerial position.
José Maria Bakero
Bakero left Real Sociedad and signed with FC Barcelona in 1988 and would remain there until the 1996-1997 season concluded. He was an attacking midfielder that formed the strong attacking part of the “Dream Team.” His career at the club would result in winning the Champions League, 2 Cup Winners’ Cup, 4 Spanish League titles and 2 Copa Del Rey medals. He would play one further season in Mexico with Veracruz before finally retiring from playing.
After retiring, he rejoined FC Barcelona as an assistant to Llorenç Serra Ferrer (with Barcelona B) and then Louis Van Gaal of the first team. He would return to Mexico in 1999 to manage Puebla with poor results and was sacked after the conclusion of the Mexican winter League.
After a short period in which he was appointed sports adviser for the Generalitat de Cataluña and worked as a sports pundit in the media, he returned to managing with Málaga B after replacing Antonio Tapia in the middle of the 2004-2005 season, and saved the team from relegation by finishing 17th in the league.
In August 2005, he returned to Real Sociedad as the club’s Sports Director but took over as manager in March, 2006 and also saved them from relegation by finishing in 16th place. However, he would be sacked as manager just seven games into the following season because of poor results. He then would join Koeman, in 2007, as his assistant at Valencia, but both would get fired during the same season because of bad results.
He then decided to seek managerial positions and has been coaching in Poland since 2009 with a stint at Polonia Warszawa for a season and is the current manager of Lech Poznan since November. He managed the team to 5th place in the standings and they are currently top of the table early into the season.
One of the greatest players to ever play for FC Barcelona and in Spain and also to break the Barcelona fans’ hearts was the Danish international, Michael Laudrup. In 1989, Juventus sold Laudrup to Barcelona and Laudrup would go on to form the attacking brilliance of the “Dream Team” along with Amor, Bakero and Guardiola. He would play a vital part in the club winning those 4 consecutive league titles and Champions League. Sadly, he left Barcelona after a falling out with Johan Cruyff. He was left out the final roster for the 93-94 Cup final against Milan and left the club. Some say that it was allegedly because he was involved with Cruyff’s daughter.
Laudrup’s next destination infuriated Barcelona fans when he joined Real Madrid. He would end up winning his fifth consecutive league title when he helped Madrid break the four year Barcelona run. He would remain for another year before playing stints in Japan with Vissel Kobe and with Ajax Amsterdam. He would then retire from playing football after the 1998 World Cup.
Two years after retiring, he returned to football as an assistant manager to the Danish national team before taking over his former Danish club, Brøndby, after the 2002 World Cup. From 2002 to 2006, Laudrup managed Brøndby to two league title and 2 domestic cup titles. He then left Brøndby and returned to Spain as Getafe’s manager for the 2007-2008 season which saw his club lose in the final of Copa Del Rey to Valencia, managed by former Barcelona teammate Ronald Koeman, and lose to Bayern Munich in the Quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup in extra time.
He would then resign as Getafe’s manager after that one season and spent a season coaching Spartak Moscow before returning to Spain to manage Mallorca last season with former “Dream Team” teammate Nadal acting as his assistant coach.
Julio Salinas was the “Dream Team’s” tall center forward. He signed with FC Barcelona right before the 1988-1989 season from Atlético Madrid. His career with the club ended after the 1994-1995 season but during that time, he would go on to win the Champions League, Cup Winners’ Cup (which he scored in the final), and four league titles among other trophies.
He would later play for Deportivo La Coruña, Sporting Gijón, Yokohama Marinos in Japan and Alavés before retiring in 2000. After retiring from the game, he became involved with sports commentary with TVE by announcing Spain National team’s games and Champions League matches. He also blogged for El Mundo Deportivo last season and currently is announcing games on La Sexta, a position he has held since 2006. Salinas has also kept himself busy by competing on the show,” ¡Mira quién baila!” which is Spain’s version of “Dancing With The Stars” in 2009. He was also the host of the docu-reality show Operación Momotombo for Antena 3 back in 2010.
The Bulgarian international joined FC Barcelona from CSKA Sofia in 1990 and his goals helped lead the “Dream Team” in winning those four consecutive league titles along with the Champion’s League Cup. He and Bakero were involved in the setup of Koeman’s free kick goal that won the game for Barcelona against Sampdoria in 1992. He was known for his fighting spirit and amazing goals, but was also known for his ill temper as witnessed when he stomped on a referee’s foot and was suspended for two months.
Following the 1994-1995 season, Hristo went to Parma for an uneventful year and then returned to Barcelona where he would help lead the team, then managed by Bobby Robson, to win the Copa Del Rey and Cup Winners’ Cup. He would play sparingly under van Gaal and would leave the club forever after the following season. He would go on to play for CSKA Sofia, Al-Nassr, Kashiwa Reysol, and Chicago Fire before retiring after one year with D.C. United in 2003.
Since then, Hristo has become involved in management and was back with Barcelona as the strikers’ coach under Frank Rijkaard before taking the Bulgarian national team manager position in 2004. He would then step down after three unsuccessful years. His first club manager job was to coach Celta Vigo in 2007 but his two year stint was a disappointing one and would lead to his sacking.
He was hired as the new manager of the South African club, Mamelodi Sundowns FC, back in June 2009 but resigned in March 2010. He was rumored to be a candidate for many coaching positions with Russian club Rostov being the latest club interested in his services. The former striker was recently appointed honorary Consul in Barcelona by Bulgarian Prime Minister and his friend, Boyko Borisov.
Author’s note: I would like to thank my friends Sonia, Xavi (no, not that Xavi) and Dutch reporter Ernst Bouwes for their help in this research. If you know of any updates or mistakes, please feel free to let me know so we can correct it.
Stayed tuned for Part II which will examine what happened to the “Dream Team” players who were on the bench for the legendary 1992 Champions League final.