Football Features

What happened next? The 2007/08 Barcelona B team managed by Pep Guardiola

By Squawka News

Published: 18:00, 10 April 2020 | Updated: 12:47, 21 June 2020

Since 2008, football fans have become accustomed to watching Pep Guardiola lift the most prestigious trophies in the game but that hasn’t always been the case, though. 

Just a year after announcing his retirement from football following a short-lived spell in Mexican football with Dorados, Guardiola was appointed as the manager of Barcelona’s B team and tasked with leading the team to promotion.

It was an unenviable task. Barcelona’s second string had been on a downward spiral for a number of years and had just suffered the ignominy of relegation from the Segunda Division B (Spanish third-tier) to the regional Tercera Division. The 2007/08 campaign was to be Barcelona B’s first at that level since 1973/74.

Guardiola and his assistant manager Tito Vilanova oversaw numerous personnel changes that summer as they plotted Barcelona B’s promotion with players arriving on free transfers or being promoted from the Juvenil team.

The changes worked as Guardiola led his squad to first place in their Tercera Division and subsequently victory in the Segunda Division B play-offs to send them straight back up.

Guardiola has achieved plenty in the game since his stint in charge of Barcelona B, but what became of the players he coached that year?

Goalkeeper: Oier Olazabal

  • Age: 30
  • Current club: Espanyol
  • 2007/08 apps: 31
  • Career path: Barcelona, Granada CF, Real Sociedad (loan), Levante, Espanyol

Oier was promoted to Barcelona’s first-team in 2008 and made one La Liga appearance for the Blaugrana. He joined Granada in 2014 and made 17 appearances before moving to Real Sociedad on loan and then joining Levante.

He now turns out for Espanyol.

Right Back: David Corcoles

  • Age: 34
  • Current club: CF Vilamarxant
  • 2007/08 apps: 30
  • Career path: Hercules, Valencia B, Barcelona B, Recreativo, Albacete, Racing Santander, Alcoyano, Vilamarxant.

Signed from Valencia’s B team in 2007 for £425k, Corcoles made 65 appearances for Barcelona B before leaving in 2009.

After spells with Recreativo, Albacete and Racing Santander, Alcoyano, he now plays for Vilamarxant.

Centre Back: Chico Flores

  • Age: 33
  • Current club: CF Fuenlabrada
  • 2007/08 apps: 10
  • Career path: Cadiz, Portuense, Barcelona B, Almeria, Genoa, Mallorca, Swansea City, Lekhwiya SC, Granada, Rubin Kazan, Fuenlabrada

Yep, that one. Flores played only ten times after joining on loan but he has enjoyed a good career since. When he’s not winding up Sam Allardyce, he can be found playing his football for Fuenlabrada.

Centre Back: Marc Valiente

  • Age: 33
  • Current club: Sporting Gijón
  • 2007/08 apps: 29
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Sevilla B, Valladolid, Maccabi Haifa, Eupen, Partizan, Sporting Gijón.

Valiente never played for the first team but carved out a successful career nonetheless, featuring over 150 times for Valladolid, before moving to Israel in 2015 for a spell with Maccabi Haifa.

Now 33, he plays for Sporting Gijón.

Left Back: Victor Sanchez

  • Age: 32
  • Current club: Espanyol
  • 2007/08 apps: 30
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Barcelona, Xerez, Getafe, Neuchatel Xamax, Espanyol

Sanchez made his name in Catalonia, but with Espanyol rather than Barcelona. He made 14 appearances for Barcelona in their treble-winning season before moving on for regular football.

Defensive Midfield: Dani Toribio

  • Age: 31
  • Current club: Racing Santander (on loan from Alcorcon)
  • 2007/08 apps: 17
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Terrassa, Malaga, Ponferradina, Villarreal B, Murcia, Alaves, Alcorcon, Racing Santander (loan)

The versatile midfielder is now playing for Racing Santander in the second tier.

Defensive Midfield: Dimas Delgado

  • Age: 37
  • Current club: Bengaluru FC
  • 2007/08 apps: 23
  • Career path: Gramenet, Barcelona B, Numancia, Cartagena, Recreativo, Western Sydney Wanderers, Bengaluru FC

Played an important role in the title win but found the path to the first-team blocked. Now seeing out his career in India after a two-year stint in Australia.

Defensive Midfield: Xavi Torres

  • Age: 33
  • Current club: Al-Arabi Sporting Club
  • 2007/08 apps: 28
  • Career path: Villarreal B, Alicante, Barcelona B, Malaga, Levante, Getafe, Betis, Sporting Gijon, Perth Glory, Elche, Al-Arabi Sporting Club

A composed central midfielder, Torres has spent the majority of his career in La Liga, most notably with Levante between 2010/12. A short spell in Australia with Perth Glory was ended when he returned to Spain with Elche.

He’s since relocated to Kuwaiti outfit Al-Arabi SC.

Central Midfield: Sergio Busquets

  • Age: 31
  • Current club: Barcelona
  • 2007/08 apps: 23
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Barcelona

Promoted to the first-team following Guardiola‘s appointment, Busquets replaced Yaya Toure in midfield and has become a mainstay of the side ever since.

Central Midfield: Abraham Gonzalez

  • Age: 34
  • Current club: AEK Larnaca
  • 2007/08 apps: 37
  • Career path: Terrassa, Barcelona B, Cadiz, Gimnastic, Ponferradina, Alcorcon, Espanyol, UNAM, Lobos BUAP (loan), Tiburones Rojos, AEK Larnaca

A key member of the side, Abraham Gonzalez, currently plays in the Cypriot top-flight with AEK Larnaca.

Central Midfield: Thiago Alcantara

  • Age: 29
  • Current club: Bayern Munich
  • 2007/08 apps: 5
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Barcelona, Bayern Munich

Drafted in for a handful of appearances after impressing for the Juvenil side, Thiago has gone on to become one of the finest playmakers in Europe, albeit at Bayern Munich rather than Barcelona.

Attacking Midfield: Victor Vazquez

  • Age: 33
  • Current club: Umm Salal Sport Club
  • 2007/08 apps: 22
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Barcelona, Club Brugge, Cruz Azul, Toronto FC, Al-Arabi, Umm Salal

Regarded as one of Barcelona‘s finest talents, injuries hampered Vazquez’s progress (he would later, after undergoing the second knee surgery of his career, have ‘only the strongest survives’ tattooed on his arm). He played three times for Barça and scored on his Champions League debut before signing for Club Brugge in 2011 and then Cruz Azul in 2016.

His most successful spell has come with Toronto FC, where he scored 18 goals in 66 games, helping the club to the 2017 MLS Cup, 2017 Supporters Shield and two Canadian Championships. Vazquez moved to Qatar in January 2019.

Left Wing: Jeffren

  • Age: 32
  • Current club: Slaven Belupo Koprivnica
  • 2007/08 apps: 27
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Barcelona, Sporting CP, Valladolid, Eupen, Grasshoppers, AEK Larnaca, Slaven Belupo

Will always be enshrined in Barcelona folklore after scoring in the historic 5-0 win over Real Madrid. Now playing in Croatia with Slaven Belupo.

Left Wing: Iago Falque

  • Age: 30
  • Current club: Genoa (on loan from Torino)
  • 2007/08 apps: 17
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Juventus, Tottenham, Southampton, Almeria, Rayo Vallecano, Genoa, Roma, Torino, Genoa (loan)

At 30, Falque has been extremely well-travelled (see above) but seems to have finally settled in Italy and has scored 32 goals in 108 games for Torino before joining Genoa on loan.

Right Wing: Pedro Rodriguez

  • Age: 32
  • Current club: Chelsea
  • 2007/08 apps: 37
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Barcelona, Chelsea

Similarly to Busquets, Pedro established himself as a key member of the first-team in the 2008/09 season. He joined Chelsea in 2015 after slipping down the pecking order and won the Premier League in 2017.

Centre Forward: Gai Assulin

  • Age: 29
  • Current club: FC Politehnica Iasi
  • 2007/08 apps: 22
  • Career path: Barcelona B, Manchester City, Brighton, Racing Santander, Granada, Hercules, Mallorca, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Sabadell, Kairat, FC Poli Iasi

Touted as a future star of the game, Assulin’s career has taken a nosedive since he left Barcelona in 2010. He’s now at Romanian first division club FC Poli Iasi.

Centre Forward: Emilio Guerra

  • Age: 38
  • Current club: Retired
  • 2007/08 apps: 26
  • Career path: Espanyol B, Vilassar Mar, Figueres, Reus, Palamos, Linares, Sabadell, Granada B, Zaragoza B, Barcelona B, Atletico Madrid B, Atletico Ciudad, Castellon, Benidorm, Puertollano, Malaga B, Kavala, Sageata, Academica, Velez CF

The definition of a journeyman. Guerra is now retired after playing for his 20th club Velez C.F in the Spanish lower leagues.

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