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Which players have played for Barcelona and PSG throughout history?

Messi, Neymar and Dembélé are recent examples of players who made the switch. There are also some surprising cases.

Messi, Neymar and Dembélé are recent examples of players who made the switch. There are also some surprising cases.
David RamosDiarioAS

Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique takes on his old club Barcelona for the first time as a manager at Parc des Princes this evening. The Asturian is the only person to have held a coaching position at both clubs but he’s not the first PSG manager to have links to Camp Nou - Laurent Blanc spent a chequered 12 months at Barça during his playing days and later returned as coach.

PSG - Barcelona: Follow the live action here!

There are, however, several examples of players who have played for both clubs - including some surprising ones. In terms of history, Barça have been around twice as long as PSG so those connections are relatively recent.

The first player to have played for both PSG and Barcelona

The first player to play for both clubs was goalkeeper Richard Dutruel although he arrived indirectly, via Celta Vigo. He made 10 appearances for PSG right at the start of his career and a couple of seasons in Barcelona as second choice to Pepe Reina.

The first player to be involved in a direct transfer between the two clubs was centre-back Frédéric Déhu, who was one of 10 reinforcements made by Louis van Gaal during the summer of 1999. The 26-year-old defender had just won the French league with Lens but struggled to hold down a regular place with Van Gaal favouring De Boer and Abelardo at the heart of his defence. Déhu made his last appearance in the 3-0 defeat at Oviedo in April 2000 and was released at the end of the season, returning home to join PSG. Has the honour of being the second PSG player to score in the Champions League on his birthday (after Di María).

Arteta seeks an outlet in Paris

The next player to move from Camp Nou to Paris was Mikel Arteta. Then one of the pearls of La Masia and captain at youth level with Spain, the Basque playmaker couldn’t find a way into the senior side due to the surplus of quality in midfield. He was farmed out to Luis Fernández’s PSG on loan in the 2001 winter transfer window and remained there until the following season.

Incidentally, Arteta came up through the youth system alongside Xavi and was also a team mate of Luis Enrique’s for a brief period. And by a curious twist of fate, there is a chance of yet another Barça old boys reunion if Arsenal get to the final - and either PSG or the Blaugranas do the same on their side of the bracket...

The next high profile move involved a player who became a legend for both clubs. Barcelona unveiled Ronaldinho on 19 July 2003. The Brazilian forward had spent two seasons at PSG when they were persuaded to let him go for six times what they had paid for him - 25 million euros plus another five in add-ons. His time at Camp Nou was packed with highs, such as his unforgettable early morning strike against Sevilla and recital at the Bernabéu. His form had dropped by the end and in the summer of 2008, Barça let him go.

A number of other players featured in direct transfers between the two clubs without making much impact. Left-back Lucas Digne arrived in Barcelona in 2016 on a 16.5 million euro deal but within a couple of seasons he was on the move again, joining Arteta’s old club, Everton.

Players who have played for both PSG and Barcelona

  • Ousmane Dembélé
  • Arnau Tenas
  • Lionel Messi
  • Kays Ruiz-Atil
  • Rafinha 
  • Xavi Simons
  • Kevin Kelley
  • Neymar
  • Shane Kluivert
  • Lucas Digne
  • Ronny Jourson
  • Maxwell
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Ludovic Giuly
  • Ronaldinho
  • Juan Pablo Sorín
  • Thiago Motta
  • Mikel Arteta
  • Frédéric Déhu
  • Richard Dutruel

Ibra arrives

Other players who have starred for both clubs but joined indirectly from other clubs include Thiago Motta, who bookended his career signing for Barça as a teenager in 1999 and brought it to a close after seven seasons at PSG. Ludovic Giuly passed through Camp Nou, joining PSG via Roma while Zlatan Ibrahimovic entered in a deal which included Samuel Eto’o to join the Catalans in 2009 although the Swede would only last a season at the club - he was subsequently loaned out to AC Milan before signing for PSG in 2012.

Like Arteta, Xavi Simons was another young player with a bright future who had to seek success elsewhere. He entered Barça’s youth academy when he was just seven years old and made his way through the youth ranks as the great promise only to leave for Paris in 2019. He is currently on loan at RB Leipzig.

Neymar spent four seasons at Camp Nou before PSG smashed the world transfer record to sign him in 2017. He is the French club’s fourth top goal scorer of all-time with 118 goals, behind Ibra.

The most well known case is Lionel Messi who spent practically his whole career at Barcelona, where he wrote and rewrote history year after year but ended up breaking the fans’ hearts by leaving for Paris in 2021.