Gavi and Pedri hope that Barcelona can rule in the post Lionel Messi era


That’s the day a youngster named Pablo Martin Paez Gavira was born in the province of Seville. Out in the coastal town of Bajamar in Tenerife, Pedro Gonzalez Lopez has just about learned to walk and talk. Today, we know them as Gavi and Pedri.

The landscape of Spanish football looked very different back then. Valencia were the reigning La Liga champions, their second title in three years, while Deportivo La Coruna still regularly finished in the top two.

Barcelona had just experienced their fifth consecutive season without a trophy, their longest barren run in the post-war era.

But something was happening at the club. New president Joan Laporta has begun a process that will change Barcelona forever. Frank Rijkaard had just guided the club to second place and there was a renewed sense of optimism ahead of the 2004-05 campaign.

Ronaldinho was the first marquee signing of Laporta’s presidency and soon the Brazilian became the best player in Spain, if not the world.

Xavi Hernandez has long established himself as a classy operator in midfield and fellow La Masia academy player Andres Iniesta has emerged as another quality prospect.

An Argentinian kid called Lionel Messi generated a lot of hype when he caught the eye in a friendly against Jose Mourinho’s Porto last November and was a few months away from making his competitive debut.

Rijkaard’s Barcelona won the 2004-05 La Liga title. The league and Champions League double followed in the next season. This heralded a new era for the Catalan club, the greatest in its history.

In the 15 years between 2004 and 2019, Barcelona won 10 La Liga titles, six Copa del Reys and four Champions Leagues.

Messi became the club’s top scorer with 672 goals in all competitions. Xavi and Iniesta joined No.10 on the Ballon d’Or podium in 2010, the pinnacle of a midfield partnership that defined a historic era for Spain and Barcelona.

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